What Would You Give Up?

What would you give up if you found yourself in a financial bind? In a recent survey, conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, 41 percent of respondents said they would rather stop eating out than give up their cell phones, downloads or digital TV services.

The good news is that only a small percentage of those surveyed said they would stop contributing to their retirement savings accounts or stop paying their monthly bills, rent or mortgage.

The key to survival in hard financial times is to have a clear financial plan when things aren’t so hairy.

“Financial success depends on setting clear goals and priorities and sticking with them in good times and bad,” said Jordan Amin, chair of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission in a statement. “While it’s clear that Americans’ priorities are changing, these results suggest that in tight times they won’t jeopardize tomorrow to deal with the financial challenges.”

Harris polled 1,005 adults about what action they would take in a financial pinch. Twenty percent said they would cut off cable TV, 8 percent said they would end cell phone service and another 8 percent said they would stop downloading songs and digital products.

Only a small number would take actions that could hurt their long-term financial well-being, with 2 percent saying they would stop contributing to their retirement accounts, 1 percent saying they would skip utility payments and 1 percent saying they would put off paying their rent or mortgage payments.

The results come as 94 percent of American adults said they have financial concerns of one sort or another. Four in 10 adults, 41 percent, identified basic living expenses—including the cost of gas, uninsured medical expenses and lack of emergency savings—as their top financial concern. Twenty-seven percent said their main concerns are related to long-term goals, such as paying for education and saving for retirement. Worries about jobs, homes and caring for aging parents rounded out the list.

“For the first time in three years gas prices—not retirement—is the top financial concern in America,” Amin said. “Every time we fill up we’re reminded that the cost of living is higher. Budgeting is key to ensure that we make it through these challenges and focus on long-term goals.”

What would you cut back on if you found yourself in a pickle?



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