October 24, 2011

According to The National Bureau of Economic Research, the Great Recession ended in June 2009, but many Kentuckians are still feeling its effects and are financially struggling, according to a study conducted by Jennifer Hunter, assistant extension professor for family financial management in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

In May, more than 500 randomly selected Kentucky families participated in a survey about their financial situation, financial goals and changes in lifestyle due to finances. Nearly 50 percent indicated that their financial situation is worse now compared to a year ago, and 64 percent have experienced an increased strain on family money used for necessities.

In addition, 59 percent have changed their expectations for future financial security, and 43 percent have changed their expectations regarding basic needs.

“Many individuals found themselves unprepared to manage the economic circumstances of the recent recession, as well as the slow economic growth that has followed,” said Hunter, who is also the co-leader of the college’s Managing in Tough Times Initiative, which seeks to help families navigate through an adverse economic climate.

Many of those polled said they’ve made changes to their spending habits and lifestyle because of the recession.  These changes include:

•    62 percent report eating out less often.

•    39 percent are shopping at discount stores more often.

•    57 percent are buying generic products more often.

•    60 percent said they spend less money on themselves or their spouse.

•    40 percent are spending less money on their children.

•    63 percent take less frequent vacations.

The study was funded by the UK College of Agriculture’s School of Human Environmental Sciences Research Activity Award. Full results of the study will be published at a later date.

The UK College of Agriculture offers several financial-related educational resources, including the Managing in Tough Times Initiative and the Moneywise website. For more information, visit the Moneywise website at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/moneywise/discovery.htm or contact Hunter via email at jhunter@uky.edu.