Most Americans see paying off mortgage
updated 4:38 p.m. ET, Mon., Feb. 25, 2008
WASHINGTON - More than three-quarters of U.S. citizens expect to pay off their mortgages before they retire despite falling housing prices and record numbers of foreclosures, according to a survey released Monday.
The survey, conduc ted by the American Savings Education Council and other groups, quizzed more than 1,000 adults offered a mix of optimism and doubt when presenting a picture of the savings habits of Americans. While 71 percent of those surveyed felt they have enough savings to help in case of an emergency, two-fifths of respondents doubted they are saving enough to maintain a "desirable standard of living" when they retire.
Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, said surprising answers like the response to the mortgage question stemmed from overly-rosy self-assessments by consumers.
"Hard data about savings behavior suggest that responses to several questions were buoyed by the personal optimism of respondents," Brobeck said.
Savings, the survey found, is tied in large part to household income; those families with higher annual incomes are likely to save at a higher rate than low or middle-income families. Specifically, 81 percent of households with incomes of at least $75,000 reported saving at least 5 percent of their income, compared with 34 percent of low-income households with income of less than $35,000.
Brobeck said the discrepancy is tied in part to households having spending and savings plans. The survey found 85 percent of high-income households have a savings plan, compared with only 36 percent for low-income households. That can make a huge difference, he said.
"A low income certainly makes it difficult to build adequate retirement savings but does not prevent developing saving and spending plans," Brobeck said. "And we know from earlier research that, regardless of income level, having a financial plan increases saving and financial stability."
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Primary Press Contact
The Consumer Federation of America
Attn: America Saves Campaign
1620 Eye St NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006
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