Consumers intend to save more and cut debt in 2009, First Com
First Command Financial Behaviors Index points to an uptick in consumer inten
families strive to improve their finances in an uncertain economy
02.03.2009 – Fort Worth, TEXAS – Increasingly concerned about the economy and
job security, American families are promising to save more and pay down debt in
2009, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index.
A year-end surge in the financial intentions of U.S. consumers caused the Financial
Behaviors Index to rebound in December to end the fourth quarter and the year at 88,
up slightly from the all-time lows of 78 in October and 77 in November. Consumer
intentions to save and reduce debt drove the gain; the Intentions sub-index jumped
25 points in December to 105 – an eight-month high.
“This increase in good intentions bodes well for the U.S. savings rate in the new
year,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command. “We’ve seen that Americans’
intentions have been a leading indicator of their financial behaviors in subsequent
Even as Americans promised to save more and cut debt, their outlook remained at
an all-time low. The Attitudes sub-index ended the year at 82, down from a high of
104 in May. Americans expressed concerns about the state of the economy (67
percent), the stock market (44 percent) and job security (32 percent), the latter nearly
doubling from a low of 18 percent in May.
Americans are attempting to improve their finances by tightening their belts.
Households cut back on expenditures in 2008 in a variety of areas including
reductions in holiday spending (56 percent), leisure activities (54 percent), utility bills
(52 percent), clothing purchases (48 percent) and household good spending (38
Also Americans are becoming smarter in the ways that they do spend their money.
Forty-nine percent said they shop at discount stores, 44 percent use more coupons
and 37 percent buy generic instead of brand name item