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Wells Fargo Survey Reports on Homeowners' Concerns

A recent press release from Wells Fargo announced the disturbing results of their quarterly survey. The survey, conducted by Ipsos Marketing, showed that while Americans, and particularly homeowners, are anxious to increase their savings, but many of them currently are not as prepared for economic woes as they would like.

The Wells Fargo & Company quarterly survey reported that nearly one in four, 24 percent of homeowners do not have sufficient savings to cover their cost of living should they lose their source of income. This pairs very poorly with an increased level of anxiety over job stability; the number of those who responded that the job market was their top concern jumped from 21 percent to 29 percent since the fourth quarter 2008. The survey also found that participants have a much greater desire to increase their savings and reduce debt (60 percent up from 53 percent), as well as pay down debt faster ( 53 percent up from 46 percent).

Furthermore, 23 percent, less than a quarter of respondents increased their savings since the last survey taken in the fourth quarter of 2008. However 37 percent responded that they have paid down debt and a further 12 percent reported having paid off debt completely in the last year.

The survey also reported on not-strictly-banking actions that people are taking in face of a troubling economic recession. Most notable, people seem to be taking bigger steps and more “drastic actions” to reduce their expenses. In the last year, 34 percent, one third, of homeowners report having family or friends move in with them. Forty-two percent reported spending less on their children. There have been adjustments in monthly spending. Thirty-nine percent of respondents are budgeting more and 41 percent are buying more out of necessity, while 30 percent reported taking steps to better manage their budgets on their own.

People are anxious for something to boost their confidence in the economy, and one in four reported that an improvement in their personal situation is what would be needed. Homeowners are stalling on spending large sums, with 30 percent saying that when the economy does improve, their first purchase will be home improvement related. A further 18 percent said that an automobile would be their first purchase, and 13 percent said they would take a vacation.

Ipsos marketing conducted this survey for Wells Fargo. They polled U.S. homeowners about their attitudes and behaviors toward debt and their use of credit. This is the sixth year that Wells Fargo has surveyed homeowners.

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