AP-GfK Poll: Americans less stressed about debt

A new poll shows that Americans are less stressed about debt than they were last year.

The poll, conducted by the Associated Press and GfK, shows that stress related to debt is down by 12 percent this year as compared to 2008. Of the poll’s respondents, 47 percent said they think about their debt rarely or not at all.

Furthermore, the poll shows that Americans seem optimistic when it comes to their debt in the future. Of those polled, 68 percent felt that their debt would be either a slight problem or no problem at all in the next five years.

The experts at the helm of Consolidated Credit believe the consumer protections of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act have made Americans feel more secure.

“People are optimistic that they’ll eventually be able to pay off their bills; but we have to see what the credit card issuers are going to do regarding changing fixed interest rate cards to variable rates and using that as a loop-hole to charge higher rates and fees.”

Seventy-three percent of the poll’s respondents were not concerned about the possibility that they will not ever be able to pay off their debt.

“People now have some optimism that the worst is behind them,” Paul J. Lavrakas, a research psychologist, told the Associated Press after analyzing the poll’s data.

The survey also showed that a smaller amount of Americans are using their credit cards for major financial purchases. Only 19 percent of respondents said they use credit cards for major purchases.

The poll comes after recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis that shows more Americans are saving money. The savings rate hit 6.9 percent earlier this year, with a total $768.8 billion saved, a sign that consumers may be being more careful with their personal finances.

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