How much financial distress are you in?

Bob Dylan once wrote that you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Still, a new index has just come out to measure how much distress consumers are in. The answer — lots.

The new quarterly survey released today by CredAbility measures a consumer’s job status, ability to pay rent or mortgage, credit worthiness, spending habits and net worth, AJC reporter Dan Chapman writes.

While consumers are saving more money, the one-two punch of unemployment and foreclosure continues to batter the average American household, Chapman reports.

Americans, during the first quarter of 2010, registered a 64.2 score (out of 100). Georgians scored 60.1.

“If you have a 70 or below, you are in trouble, in distress, your situation isn’t stable anymore and you need to take immediate action,” said Mark Cole, CredAbility’s chief operating officer.

How does this new measure square with your situation?

Are you getting deeper into debt or starting to turn things around?

Have you come across an important tip you can share?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

47 comments Add your comment


May 26th, 2010
6:30 am

Cash is king! Live within your means!

We learned the hard way but have been out of debt for 15 years.

Good Ole JR

May 26th, 2010
7:53 am

the modification program works, IF the mortgage company knows how to evaluate your eligibility. On the website they ask for your gross pay, if unsure there is a link that you can click on to put in your take home pay and based on that I qualified for the Federal mortgage assistance. the mortgage company only went by the gross, I guess they think that we all pay the same amount of taxes…the banks have no interest to help, they can flip your house at no loss to them most of the time.

Good Ole JR

May 26th, 2010
7:55 am

Oh, and one catch is that if you are selected for any sort of modification the wanted me to go to a credit counselor??? WTH, i have no bills other than necessities and NO credit cards whatsoever..


May 26th, 2010
7:57 am

Well I do IT contracting, which, thanks to Republican AND Blue Doggie Democrat support for cheap imported Indian slave labor, done under the H1B fraud, has been co-opted by incompetent drones from the Subcontinent. So for the last 8 or so years I’ve worked only half the time, used up all my savings, and live hand to mouth – that is, I have no life. I might have an interview soon – some Americans finally are sick of dealing with the incompetence of these H1Bs and seem to want a native who knows what he’s doing.

I often wonder where my redneck brothers, replaced by Mexican slaves, have gone, and if they wonder what has happened to me, my work taken by Indian slaves. Thanks, neocons – great economic progress there babe.


A Georgia Conservative

May 26th, 2010
7:57 am

My wife and I were living well within our means when the economic crash hit us hard. Our credit rating was well over 800 when this happened. My wife’s job was eliminated and I had to take a salary cut in order to retain my job. We had previously dipped into our life savings when we discovered that our company provided medical insurance does not cover very much. Another medical procedure after my wife lost her job took another chunk of our savings. Soon we had to sell what was left of our stock savings, which had lost 70% of their value in the market crash.

Now we are in serious financial distress and nearly lost our home. And unless the bank approves us a for a loan remodification we will lose our home. We had made every payment on time for 9 years before this financial debacle and had paid about 35% of the home value as a down payment.

I have many friends who own their own businesses and are now in their 50s and losing everything they own. Middle aged people are suffering greatly from the worst economic meltdown in America since the Great Depression.

So far I have not seen one Republican candidate for governor that is addressing our state’s financial woes in an adequate and serious matter. This is very frustrating for a lifelong Republican voter such as myself.

David S

May 26th, 2010
7:58 am

Since I listen to the Austrian economists and not the Keynesians that got us in this mess, I knew well in advance how the Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates and the massive inflation of the money supply were going to cause malinvestment and the massive economic collapse we have only begun to experience. Because I am a libertarian I knew what sort of failed policies to expect from both democrats and republicans that would make things worse.

I listen to contrarian investment folks, I kept my family and myself out of debt (except for the 1/2 paid off 15 yr. mortgage – fixed at 5% of course) and took many other measures to insure that we will be positioned to ride out the horrible collapse of the dollar and the world economy that is to come.

We have been fortunate to have not lost any jobs, but one makes provisions with savings and living well within one’s means just in case.

Unfortunately our problems are the result of americans listening to the lying bankers and politicians that said that deficits don’t matter, everything is rosey, the economy can only go up and every other thing they did to funnel money from the working class to the rich and the bankers.

Hopefully when this all falls apart, we can rebuild on the foundations of sound money and limited government that made this country great once.

Angry in Georgia

May 26th, 2010
8:01 am

Do not expect any help from our politicians at the state level. We have the most incompetent state congress and senate I have ever seen, not to mention the bozo that sits in the governor’s office. They have done nothing substantial to stem the huge number of illegal aliens that occupy Georgia and take our jobs, what precious few there are. And our elected officials just look for new ways to tax us further to fund their pet projects. The citizens of this state are broke and we cannot pay new and higher taxes!

Good Ole JR

May 26th, 2010
8:09 am

Georgia Conservative Good for you!! you may one of the few that will survive.

Angry in GA- I agree with the taxing us to death, literally, property taxes went up last year even though the value of homes went down 10-20 percent. What gives there. mine went up 600 from the year before. and they wouldnt budge when they were confronted with that. gimme gimme is all I fell the GOV is saying.


May 26th, 2010
8:16 am

That’s right JR, you can your “conservative” buddies just keep drinking that Repo Kool-Aid while the economy they destroyed burns down around you. PS – Eisenhower and Goldwater were conservatives. The last ones. You guys bought into the idiocy of a pack of radicals.


May 26th, 2010
8:20 am

Hey everyone – Don’t worry. O-Bama will pay your mortgage, car payments and grocery bills. Isn’t that what he lead everyone to believe in his campaign?? Oh that is right – it was only directed to the non-working, 9 children, inner city Acorn loving his “kinda” people. Good luck America as Communism is right around the corner.


May 26th, 2010
8:21 am

In general my family is doing fine because we have been prudent and lived within our means so we could absorb most of the hits of the Great Recession. I am concerned about Georgia Power trying to double their rates, water rates in Atlanta and Dekalb county are expected to go up (Dekalb is expected to double over 2-3 years), while gasoline is down a little it is still higher than last year and as the economy improves I expect gasoline to again exceed $3/gallon. Meanwhile Georgia has eviscerated education, increased fees, increased college tuition (threatening the viability of HOPE scholarships). If propoerty rates go up significantly in the next couple of years, and I assume they will, then we will be hurting. For those already suffering or on the edge, any of these developments is enough to push them over.


May 26th, 2010
8:22 am

And here’s another Kool-Aid drinker – Hi Lance! They are like mosquitoes – everywhere. I think they reproduce by fission.


May 26th, 2010
8:33 am

So far were ok but have $0 savings. My property taxes went up $500. My health insurance went up $200 a month for a family of four. Citibank raised my interest rate to 18.9%. I only owed about $2500 on the card.The charges were for a car repair and an emergency surgery. My husband broke his foot and was out of work for 6 weeks. The insurance requires a $1000 deductible. His company does not offer short term disabilty so we had to use our savings. Needless to say, that $2500 that I was paying extra on each month (I was so close!) with the 8% rate has multiplied to $10,000+. Even though we have a credit score of 800+ and in 15 years have NEVER made a late payment on anything, I can’t transfer the balance to a lower card and Citicrap won’t lower the rate. (They did send me an offer for 0% balance transfers though!Go figure!) I’ve also just been dianosed with MS so we’ll rack up some more major medical expenses. I feel chewed up and spit out. I would (almost!) walk away from everything and move in with my mother-in-law. That’s desperation right there!

It makes me upset when people tell me to live within my means. I don’t eat out. We’re not overweight. We don’t go on vacation. The car is 1998 and the truck is a 1994. The mortgage is 15% of our tkae home pay. We have a 15 year loan with 5% and owe 7 more years. (Granted the house is falling apart b/c I’m too sick now to take care of it.) What the heck am I doing wrong???


May 26th, 2010
8:35 am

Couldn’t say it better Lance.


May 26th, 2010
8:36 am

I guess I’m doin’ fair to middlin’.


May 26th, 2010
8:40 am

I’ve bought so much foreclosed property over the last year that I’ve gone ahead and ordered yacht number two for when the market rebounds.

God Bless the likes of GWB and Sonny Perdue for taking care of those of us who actually work.

Common Sense

May 26th, 2010
8:41 am

State level Republicans in Georgia are NOT conservative and are NOT fiscally responsible. They are as bad as leftwing socialist Democrats and the sooner Georgia voters figure that out the better off we’ll be by kicking these incompetent big spending crooks out of office! we have one of the worst and most incompetent state governments in the entire nation. If they are successful in allowing counties t and cities to raise both property taxes and millage rates that will be a travesty for the citizens of our state. And these elected government crooks will no doubt allow GA Power to raise our rates! GA Power paid for most of those crooks to get elected anyhow! And take a close look at that joke of an ethics bill these state congress crooks passed. It still allows them to take gifts and perks from lobbyists! Gift and perks are nothing but bribes! Wake up voters and toss ALL the incumbents out of office!

Dave from GT

May 26th, 2010
8:57 am

Same stories down here in Tampa – only without the oil!


May 26th, 2010
9:12 am

Is there a website where an individual can obtain this “score”? IF the GA average is ~60, how do I know, based on this score, how I compare? I’m employed, pay all bills on time including house, car, and all other household expenses, still save as much as I can each month in addition to my 401k and my employer-supplied pension, and I have money left over with which to do as I please. If that’s a “60″ then I would really like to be in the 90 percentile!!


May 26th, 2010
9:14 am

We are not in financial stress at all! We live within our means and are 1. saving 2. maxing out TSP and SEP every year, 3. saving for our kids college (about 7K/year) 4. Holding 2 mortgages (one house is for sale) and still have over $50k liquid cash!! AND we have no credit card debt or car payments- we paid off our 2005 cars 2 years ago. Our take home combined income is ~200K. Once we sell the second house, we are going to double pay our 200K mortgage and pay it off w/ in 5 years.
We did this ourselves with discipline and hard work.


May 26th, 2010
9:14 am

The United States is on the verge of collapsee due to the enormous amount of deficit spending by the last few administrations in DC. Obama and his left-wing minions are pushing us off that slippery slope to ruin.

Elections do have consequences, my friends.


May 26th, 2010
9:18 am

This is what you get when you keep voting Republican even though they continue to screw you — wake up Georgia …go Blue


May 26th, 2010
9:23 am

it’s been rough for me and my husband also; so far, his job has been holding up but we got screwed with the mortgage company and now doing a loan modification; he’s totally taking care of the mortgage payments, but it’s the other bills that are really getting to us; since i’m a state employee, not only has my pay been furloughed since last september but effective july 1, my position will be going part time. i know that’s better than no time, but my bills won’t be cut in half due to my pay being cut in half; oh, not to mention that we have a middle school aged son and need I say more? i’m just fed up at this point.

i don’t envy strip club dancers at all; no furloughs going on there.


May 26th, 2010
9:27 am

these comments are funny and all from the good white folk. now that things are bad in your little world. welcome 2 the world of the black man. LOL

Tucker Steve

May 26th, 2010
9:32 am

“Taking care of those who actually work”? What work? I’m a carpenter. There is no work! Or if you do find it, you’re expected to show up with a full size truck full of $5,000 worth of tools and work for $15 per hour. By the time taxes are taken out you end up with four hundred and change a week. Can you live on that? I’ve been 2 days away from foreclosure twice. All of my utilities have been turned off more than once. I’m down to the last few dollars of my savings. Everybody I know that does anything related to the construction industry has either gone under or is barely holding on. I would be delighted to work. Got any?


May 26th, 2010
9:34 am

I have read a lot of posts that bring sympathy because they lived within their means but “life’s happenings” reared its ugly head and now they are in over their head. Unfortunately, most people who are reeling out there did not live within their means and tried to hard to “keep up with the Joanses.”

When are we going to point the finger back at ourselves for the financial mess that we are in? I was told 10 years ago that I qualified for a $235K home but did a simple calculation to determine that my household couldn’t afford it. It’s simple, spend less than your take home pay, save for that rainy day, and put back money for retirement. You don’t need an i-phone, new car, expensive home, annual vacations over paying for your basic necessities (rent/mortgage, food, utilities). STOP BLAMING EVERYONE BUT YOURSELF! Also, you’re living in a dream world if you think the Government is going to take care of all your needs. Someone has got to pay for this mess down the road and I am sick and tired of my children being mortgaged off by a Government that spends like a group drunken sailors. People are getting bail outs everywhere yet I should be getting a bonus for living within my means and having a year’s emergency fund.

American Pride

May 26th, 2010
9:40 am

Does anyone even read anymore and have their viewpoint challenged with new information?

Lance and those of his ilk will point to the election of the POTUS and draw wreckless conclusions based on their gut feeling. The data going back to 2006 specifically revealed that a drop in consumer distress levels “10 of the last 12 quarters” mirrors the recession.

Unless I missed something Obama took office in 2009 and how many quarters has he been responsible for my fellow Georgian? Or perhaps you actually meant that Obama was a State Senator/Rep in Georgia because that would be the primary reason his name would be mentioned in this article.

Politics are local. An unfunded and laughably low educatioal ranking among states, a shorter life expectancy (a basic meausure for the quality of healthcare) than many other states, no clear direction to improve transportation and being among the highest in per capita spening for criminal justice spending are all issues that are Obama’s responsibility, right?

Perhaps we shouldnt blame Sonny or any of his bretheren. Even though this ranking provides data back to 2006, we should still blame Obama. Because appealing to our fears and ignorance (the true definition of racism) is what wins elections in our state. Fear politics (Guns, Gays, God) will always trump any of those other issues.

Understanding Atlanta

May 26th, 2010
9:42 am

I just entered the workforce, graduated with a B.S. in Physics in May of 2009. I was fortunate to find a job that pays pretty well (through internships while in school). I saw this economic downfall from the comfort of a classroom, and what I noticed is that we expect the government regardless of the party in control to waive a magic wand and fix things. Most of the jobs that left aren’t coming back and we need to learn new skills for the jobs that will come back.

This recovery is going to take far longer than any of us would like to admit and there is in reality little any politician can do to force jobs back to America. Just like housing prices went up to outrageous levels, that correlated to increased operating costs for businesses.

james 1

May 26th, 2010
9:43 am

I pay cash for everything so as long as I can pay the electric bill we will be okay


May 26th, 2010
9:46 am

It’s rough out here!!!!! Even the teenagersare having a tough time after the Georgiateenwork Program is delayed. The stimulus bucks are being held up by the Republicans and the teens are angry. There were thousands who were approved and the job coaches were overwhelmed.


May 26th, 2010
10:23 am

You UnAmerican people who got sick, it’s obviously your fault you’re broke. Learn to perform your own surgeries at home, compound your own drugs, and pull yourself up by the bootstraps. It’s the conservative way.


May 26th, 2010
10:35 am

Kids are not taught the power of compound interest. I started saving when I was 22 – profit sharing plans, 401K’s, IRA’s. We drive cars for 10 years. The original part of our home was built in 1938. Everything is paid for including 3 condos. And we just finished starting our 4th and last grandkid’s college savings tuition fund, (whew).

PS. I never counted on Social Security to be part of my retirement but now that we’re drawing some it’s icing on the cake.


May 26th, 2010
10:35 am

Well, I have posted on these blogs before, the ones about healthcare, the economy, etc. and I have told my sob story more than once. Husband died, 2 kids in college, one in HS,lost job, no unemployment, getting ready to lose house, that I actually do have equity in BUT nobody is buying. I am at the point now of no return and I do not even care anymore. I am stuck. Used all savings to live on, now living on credit cards. I am not a lazy person, worked everyday for 8 years, to no avail. Before you judge people (and yes I do have a EDUCATION, Mr. Haywood), you need to think about what can happen and be prepared because it can happen to anybody. NEVER in a million years did I think I would end up like this. Life is tough, especially when you are alone in this mess.

Indian Slave

May 26th, 2010
10:48 am

Yes, I’m one of the Indian slaves that Ross is referring to. I’m also in the contracting world. I work 52 weeks a year. The only time that I’m out of a contract is when I want to take time off. My customers come to me (not the other way around). I bill my clients a hefty $130-$150/hr. Yes, there is surplus work in America if you know what you’re doing. Americans can tell the difference between cheap labor and quality work. Good luck!

We are hurting

May 26th, 2010
11:45 am

Socialism has the European Union on the verge of economic collapse so why would the United States want to join them? Obamunism is destroying our economy. Vote ALL incumbents out of office, especially those fanatical leftist Democrats who are setting new records for wasteful government spending!

Dead in the water

May 26th, 2010
11:47 am

Decades of savings and investments wiped out in the recent economic collapse! Thanks Obama! Now you and your anti-capitalists can pay for my living too!


May 26th, 2010
11:49 am

It is sad that in the middle age of our lives we are all faced with this crisis. We cut out as much as we can, phone, cable, dining out etc. we dont buy clothes and try and live within our means. *I truly believe all of us on here are doing the best we can, with what we have. Yes property taxes have decreased, home values diminished, but we should just try to keep our heads above water. What is the alternative??

The Dogfighter Returns

May 26th, 2010
11:53 am

Stop Whining GA. British Petroleum will handle everything.

Remember God is on America’s side and God wants America to be victorious.

God Bless America.

FYI the prison system is booming. With crime at an all time high, now is the time to begin a career as an overseer, I mean prison guard.

God Loves you. stay strong. BP will fix everything. Just call the queen up and place your request.

Damn Brits.

Laid Off

May 26th, 2010
12:27 pm

I got laid off from a marketing job 7 months ago and after sending out 500 resumes, networking, etc., I’ve gotten 3 interview and then they told me they were “delaying the hiring decision” due to the bad economy. The job market totally sucks, no matter what they are saying in DC. Things are worse now than last year. One job I applied for as a sales rep, they had 900 people apply, including salespeople with 20 years experience at big companies. It’s terrible. The morons in DC sold the people down the river.


May 26th, 2010
12:36 pm

I’m 50….was cut loose from my company (after 12 years) for economic reasons on April 1st. I cant reduce my mortgage right now because it’s not more than 30% of the income I was making and I have severance right now to last through August. I have 15 years experience in the IT Industry….send out at least 15 resumes a week have only had 1 interview since April 1st. Every job I look at that I have the qualifications for also throws in the wanting of a BA or BS. In 15 years of doing IT work….that includes EVERYTHING from PC construction to networking…software installation, training, desktop support, Computer\data Analyst, Management. I have never seen any part of the work that necessitates a BA or BS. have no savings, Divorce took care of that. I can only hope that I can get a foot in the door somewhere between now and September, or once that hits everything will go down the tubes for me as well. Which means I’ll lose my house, car and everything because none of it is paid off and my credit will inevitably hit bottom. It’s nerve racking to sit and watch it happen slowly and know whats coming.


May 26th, 2010
12:48 pm

Oh yes, getting much better! I almost have enough saved up for my chapter 7 Bankruptcy.


May 26th, 2010
1:47 pm

LOL simply great….i’m with you!


May 26th, 2010
2:05 pm

I lost my full time job the end of Feb, and have been looking for something since I found out the week before Christmas. I have had no luck finding anything, and have filed paper to my mortgage company about helping me with my loan on my townhouse. I am not holding my breath and just had to put in a new a/c. My question is where is the Change Mr Obama?? The only change I see is how many different chefs are fixing your meals each week at my cost!! Who is it this time, Wolfgang??? I am sure he isn’t eating peanut butter and jelly like the rest of us are.


May 26th, 2010
2:17 pm

How about this one, Me and My husband disabled. Denied SSDI twice for me and once for my husband. My car title was pawned to pay rent and bills; they will be picking that up on Tuesday. Our phone and cable been off for two weeks;for some reason they have not disconnected the internet. Tomorrow our electricity,next is we will be evicted because we are 2 months behind in our rent. I believe that what little you do have please be thankful for it. Try not to complain and gripe because someone around you could have it a whole lot worse.


May 26th, 2010
2:38 pm

Good luck for all the people that are looking for a job. hang in there and hopefully it will work out.

Ross, The reason why you are not employed half the time may have something to do with your attitude. Take a look at yourself first before blaming others and stop calling others names.


May 26th, 2010
3:42 pm

No financial stress here and with the many others I socialize with. Regardless of who is in power, politcs should have NO bearing whatsoever on your finances. I have been above and beyond financially stable during the past two decades. The only thing everyone should be concerned about now is having this extreme socialist Obama in office. Those of you who have it bad now will suffer worse with his continued power war.

Finally, those of you that claim health and insurance woes for your financial troubles are hypocrits. You know full well that YOU are to blame for not securing a better finanical position and gambling on insurance. I have worked in HR for many years, and I can tell you for a fact that the majority would rather have a nicer car with a high payment than good health insurance for their families. The real sob stories are few and far between, the majority screwed themselves! Shame on you for not telling the whole true about how you arrived near poverty level.

There are alot of stupid, irresponsible people that are blaming the economy. Pity and shame on you and what you have done to your family and your future.


May 26th, 2010
3:46 pm

@ Alicia Continue to cry yourself a river, you are full of crap! “for some reason they have not disconnected the internet” – nice try but I am not buying your BS. Those that do believe Alicias lies are pathetic.