NEW YORK — As inflation continues to put a strain on budgets, talk of an upcoming recession has Americans worried about their finances. Prices on everyday items continue to rise and consumers are trying to find ways to make their dollar stretch further while safeguarding their money against the potential challenges a recession may bring. The future may be difficult to predict, but preparing now can help consumers protect their financial health during a recession.
A recent Experian survey found that two in three U.S. adults are concerned about a recession occurring in the United States. Consumers are most worried about the affordability of routine expenses, with 73% concerned that the price of everyday items like gas, groceries and rent will continue to rise to a level they can’t afford. Meanwhile, 55% harbor supply chain concerns and 38% are stressed about the affordability of big, planned purchases such as a home or a car.
As recession worries grow, more Americans are sizing up their finances to see where they stand. Only 48% are confident that they can financially handle a recession, and two in five believe that they’ll need to rely on credit to cover essential and unexpected expenses over the next three months. In fact, 27% have already increased their credit card debt within the past three months. This trend is accompanied by additional anxieties: two in three survey respondents are concerned to some degree that their credit score will negatively affect their ability to access credit in the next three months.
Being proactive is key to weathering financial storms, yet less than half of consumers have prepared for a recession when it comes to their finances and credit. Those who have are finding different ways to do so: 49% have cut non-essential expenses like entertainment and vacations, 45% have created a budget and 40% have paid down debt.
While these are effective actions, there are other steps consumers can take to understand their credit history and safeguard their credit.
Consumers should check their credit report and credit score regularly to know exactly where they stand in the event that they need to apply for credit, or simply to be better informed as they prepare to pay down their debt ahead of an economic decline. They can get a free credit report and credit score from Experian (Spanish-language credit reports are also available) as well as access to free financial tools, an auto insurance shopping service and credit card marketplace.
Those who need help increasing their credit score can sign up for Experian Boost. This free feature enables consumers to add their monthly payments for cell phone bills, utility bills, rent and video streaming services to their credit history to potentially increase their FICO Score instantly. To learn more, visit experian.com/boost.
“Inflation and recession fears are putting pressure on consumer’s finances, but proactively planning for the worst can help consumers make it through potential challenges. Many consumers are already taking great steps to prepare, like creating a budget and paying down their debt, and we encourage them to utilize other available resources and tools to help,” says Rod Griffin, senior director of Public Education and Advocacy at Experian.