10:52 AM

zendough.com Finds Nearly 60 Percent of Americans Don't Regularly Follow a Budget

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - April 9, 2010) -  The economic turmoil of the past year would suggest that now, more than ever, Americans need to get their finances in order. Yet a new survey reveals that millions likely lack even the most basic understanding of how to get started. In recognition of National Financial Literacy Month in April, zendough.com by TransUnion and financial expert Sanyika Calloway Boyce are working to educate consumers about how to stay on top of their personal finances.

A newly released Zogby survey commissioned by zendough.com found that more than half (57 percent) of respondents do not follow a budget or only sometimes follow a budget every month. The survey also revealed that more than one in 10 of those respondents (11.6 percent) said they were not at all knowledgeable or had below average knowledge of personal finance. According to Boyce, having at least a basic understanding of personal finances is critical to avoid common financial pitfalls. 

"It's easy for people to become frustrated and confused with all the financial information coming at them," said Boyce, financial expert and author of Crack 'Da Code: What Every College Student Needs to Know About Money, Love and the Dream Job and her upcoming book, Give Yourself Credit. "But instead of becoming overwhelmed by a general lack of financial awareness, consumers need to start with the basics."

Boyce offers the following tips:

Organize Your Documents - Clutter helps cause chaos, not clarity, so having a clearly listed set of your bills and debts is an important step in knowing exactly what expenses you have to pay with the income you have coming in each month. Create a simple file folder system with the name of the bill and the due date on the tab to better organize your documents.

Go for Goals - The best way to achieve your goals is to have a clear plan of attack before you get started. Identify two to three realistic financial goals you want to achieve within the next 6 to 12 months and list out what it will take -- both financially and commitment wise -- to reach those goals. With this information in hand, you'll have all the knowledge and incentive you need for managing your finances in a way that will help you reach the goals you've set.

Ask and You May Receive - Remember to have open communication with creditors and ask for help when it comes to interest rate reductions and making payment arrangements. This often results in negotiating favorable credit card repayment terms, but you've got to ask for what you want.

Watch Your Financial "Waste" Line - Just like exercising regularly keeps your body fit, keeping an active watch on your money can keep you financially fit and help you save and not waste it. zendough.com offers consumers a way to understand their overall financial situation, monitor their credit score, guard against ID theft and plan in advance for major milestones like buying a house, starting a family and retiring.

Do Some Financial Spring Cleaning - Pull out that pile of unopened bank statements, empty the shoe box full of receipts and take inventory of your financial life. Choose something you know needs to be addressed and commit to taking one action each day for a week. To get started try:

  • Putting your top five bills on auto pay so you can avoid late fees, or

  • Canceling memberships you don't regularly use like the gym you haven't visited in months, movies-by-mail you don't have time to watch and magazines you never read.

zendough.com helps consumers awaken to their financial situation and provide them with the resources and action plan to achieve their financial goals by offering credit reports, a credit score and grade, identity theft protection and a summary of debt accounts.

"Because being aware of your credit score on an ongoing basis, knowing how much debt you're facing and learning to budget are extremely important, zendough.com delivers that essential knowledge for consumers in an easy-to-understand snapshot," said Heather Schneider, education director for zendough.com by TransUnion. "From there, zendough.com offers unique tools and tips to help people set a clear path to accomplish their goals."

zendough.com offers:

  • Regular access to credit information, including report and score, a simple letter grade and the six secrets that contribute a member's personal credit score. 

  • An in-depth analysis of debt accounts, explaining how much money is allocated toward paying off debt and how it affects overall financial health. Valuable checklists with resources, tips and tools to help people achieve specific goals, such as buying a home, preparing for retirement, budgeting for life events and more.

  • An ID Risk Score to help consumers understand their risk for identity theft. In addition to credit monitoring, members can feel secure knowing that zendough.com monitors their risk for identity theft by scanning billions of records for the use of their personal information and alerting.

  • Personal white-glove ID restoration service provides members with direct access to a zendough.com Case Manager who will help remove fraudulent information from your credit report and contact creditors to close fraudulent accounts and credit bureaus to add fraud alerts.

About the Zogby Survey

Zogby International was commissioned by zendough.com by TransUnion to conduct an online survey of 2,068 adults. A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate from 2/17/10 to 2/19/10. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, and education to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

About zendough.com

Through a suite of easy-to-use tools, tips and resources, zendough.com by TransUnion helps consumers gain better control of their finances and guides them to making peace with their money. zendough.com offers credit scores and grades, identity theft protection and a summary of debt accounts, all designed to awaken members to their financial situation and provide them with the wisdom to achieve their financial goals. zendough.com is a direct-to-consumer product of Chicago-based TransUnion Interactive, a subsidiary of TransUnion, a global leader in credit and information management which maintains credit histories on an estimated 500 million consumers across the globe. 

Editor's Note: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Eileen Garrity at 

egarrity@c-k.com or 312-616-3869.