Contrast this with the latest report from the not-for-profit credit counseling agency CreditAbility. Its latest report (hat tip Doug Smith) shows that, contrary to media cheerleading, consumer conditions deteriorated in the fourth quarter of 2010. That means not only did conditions worsen during all of last year, but the standing of household budgets is at its worst level since the first quarter of 2010.
And Mark Cole, who is oversees the credit index, does not see reports of improved economic conditions translating into healthier consumer finances:
“Improved stock prices have increased the value of 401(k) and other investment accounts in the average US household, but high unemployment continues to stifle income growth, causing many homeowners to miss mortgage payments,” Cole said. “While an increase in consumer spending helped the economy in the fourth quarter, the index showed that an increasing number of people failed to prudently manage their household budgets. This lack of savings could cause financial problems if they need to rely on their savings in the future.”
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