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SchoolsFirst FCU & Gallup Release ‘Financial Lives of Californians’

When it comes to managing money, California residents appear more confident about their current situations than they do about their futures according to a recent study conducted by Gallup Inc. on behalf of SchoolsFirst FCU.

About 59 percent of respondents say they are somewhat more likely to pay their bills on time, and nearly one-third say they have a manageable amount of debt (34 percent) and could cover household expenses for three months in an emergency (34 percent). Approximately 21 percent are saving enough to meet their long-term goals.

However, only one-third of California residents said they plan ahead financially, with 35 percent overall stating they are “struggling” and another 37 percent saying that are “suffering.” Fewer consumers (28 percent) are “thriving.”

Nonetheless, SchoolsFirst FCU found that its own members are more likely to be “thriving” (41 percent) and less likely to be “suffering” (22 percent) than Californians overall.

Demographics also made a difference in Californians’ feelings about their financial wellbeing, with older residents (those known as Traditionalists), more apt to be “thriving” and less likely to be “suffering” than the Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z generations that followed. Not surprisingly, consumers in higher-income brackets were more likely to be “thriving” and less likely to be classified as “struggling” than those consumers with lower incomes.

“SchoolsFirst FCU is dedicated to delivering world-class personal service to our members by providing trusted financial advice and products and services that meet their individual needs,” said SchoolsFirst FCU CEO Bill Cheney. “It is encouraging to see our Members are more likely to feel they are thriving and we will continue to find ways to support their financial wellbeing.”

The Gallup study for SchoolsFirst FCU also explored Californians’ relationships with their preferred financial institutions. Most California residents (94 percent) have a preferred financial institution, while the remaining 6 percent fall into the category of the “unbanked.” This means they have no formal banking relationship and prefer to manage their finances on a cash basis or through other methods such as gift cards or wire transfers.

Among California consumers who maintain a banking relationship, most prefer to interact with their financial institutions online, using a computer, phone or tablet, for routine banking activities, and through in-person contact for specialized banking activities. Other less-preferred channels included ATMs and telephone contact.

California consumers who experienced any type of problems with their financial institutions were most apt to mention online banking and fraud as the areas of concern. Problem resolution was high among California financial institutions, with 71 percent of consumers overall indicating their problems were solved.

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