The following is from a Wells Fargo Survey:
San Francisco — May 19, 2009
A Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) quarterly survey found that nearly one in four homeowners (24 percent) do not have any savings to cover their living expenses should they lose their income. At the same time, anxiety over job stability increased significantly (from 21 percent to 29 percent indicating jobs as their top concern) since fourth quarter 2008, the last time the survey was done. Respondents also have a significantly higher desire to increase savings while reducing debt (60 percent versus 53 percent) and pay down debt faster (53 percent versus 46 percent) compared to the last survey. Less than a quarter of respondents (23 percent) have increased their savings, but 37 percent say they have paid down debt and 12 percent paid off debt completely in the past year.
Many people are taking drastic actions to reduce expenses. Since last year, one-third of homeowners (34 percent) say they have had family or friends move in with them, and 42 percent are spending less on their children. And, compared to a year ago, many have adjusted their spending. About two in five say that they are budgeting more or buying more of only what they need (39 percent and 41 percent respectively) and 30 percent say they are learning how to better manage their budgets on their own.
Asked what would boost their confidence in the economy, one in four say an improvement in their personal situation is the top indicator. Meanwhile, homeowners are waiting for the economy to improve to make a major purchase: 30 percent say the first purchase they will make will be home improvement, 18 percent say they will buy an automobile while 13 percent say they will take a vacation.