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Many NJ Residents Treading Water Financially [AUDIO]

Are your personal finances in better shape now than they were last year, are they worse, or about the same?

John Moore, Getty Images

Krista Jenkins, the Director of the FDU PublicMind poll, says, “Every January we do a consumer confidence survey, and the data shows a majority of Garden state residents (52 percent ) go into the New Year with personal finances that remain unchanged from where they were a year ago, about a fifth believe they’re better off financially relative to last year, and a third say they’re doing worse today than they were a year ago.”

She says looking ahead, “We find that about a third believe their personal finances will improve in the coming year, but we find the most common appraisal given was for one’s finances to remain about the same in 2013 -so taken as a whole, it looks like there’s some good stabilization going on in people’s attitudes towards their personal finances.”

Jenkins points out, “Whether you think the glass is half full or empty depends on what kind of expectations you bring to this – holding one’s own in this difficult economy can be seen as a good thing – just as much as not expecting to get ahead in the next year could be interpreted as a bad sign for New Jersey’s economy.

“She adds it’s also interesting to note, “That 33 percent say that their personal finances were affected by hurricane Sandy, and of these a full third anticipate a continuation of these difficulties in the coming year…also credit card debt remains a problem for many New Jerseyans – a third said that they struggle to make payments on their outstanding credit card balances – this is a number that is virtually unchanged from where they were a year ago.”

When it comes to unemployment Jenkins says the poll finds, “that 56 percent of people either lost a job themselves or know someone who lost a job in the past year, and a good many of those who are employed remain concerned as they go into the New Year about potentially losing their own jobs.”

On the housing front, often a leading indicator of recovery, nearly half believe homes will increase in value in 2013, unchanged from a year ago. However, after a better than expected run up in housing prices in 2012, more now believe prices will decrease in the upcoming year (38%) than did in January 2012 (30%).

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