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MacroMonitor Market Trends January 2012

MacroMonitor Market Trends is a newsletter from Consumer Financial Decisions that highlights topical news and trends of interest to you and your colleagues. If you would like more information about the topic in the newsletter or would like to discuss other ways that we can assist you in your research and marketing efforts, please contact us.

Uh-Oh! Consumers' Concerns about Financial Crimes Escalate

Results from the 2010–11 MacroMonitor core financial-needs questions show that "protecting against financial crimes" is the single most "extremely important" financial need among US households. The table shows that, in general, the degree of protection importance increases as households move from the formative Life Stage through child rearing and into the preretired and retired Life Stages. The implication is that the more a household has to lose (or the wiser it becomes), the more likely a household is to feel vulnerable to financial crime. Concern about identity theft has shifted in light of larger, more visible, financial crimes and crises of the recent past—from Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme to the failure of Lehman Brothers.

The Importance of Protecting My Household Against Financial Crimes

Life Stage Extremely Important Extremely or Somewhat Important Rank *

* Rank denotes the importance for each Life Stage segment of "protecting against financial crimes" out of 24 financial needs.

Source: The MacroMonitor

All US HHs (Percent) 31 67 1
Single No Kids (Percent) 22 65 11
Married No Kids (Percent) 20 57 10
Oldest Child 0–11 (Percent) 26 61 8
Oldest Child 12–17 (Percent) 29 63 4
Oldest Child 18+ (Percent) 32 75 7
Pre-retired (Percent) 36 70 1
Younger Retired (Percent) 41 77 1
Older Retired (Percent) 36 67 2

The figure shows the six-year trend of households that "mostly agree" with the statement "Protecting my household against identity theft is a high priority." In all but one Life Stage—Single No Kids—the trend in "mostly agree" response incidence (top box) mirrors that for All US Households—an increase between 2004 and 2006 followed by a sharp decline in the succeeding four years. As reported by Javelin Strategy and Research in its 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report, the number of identity-fraud incidents has actually declined significantly between 2010 and 2011 perhaps, in part because of a decline in the number of reported data breaches. Whatever the reason, it is clear that consumers' priorities are shifting, and they now see a greater threat to their financial welfare than that posed by identity theft.

Figure 1: Protecting My Household Against Identity Theft Is a High Priority: Mostly Agree

To learn more about Life Stages and the segments' financial needs, contact CFD.