Survey Finds Millions of American Include Financial Fitness in Their 2005 New Year's Resolutions



WASHINGTON (Dec. 13, 2005) - With the season of New Year's resolutions upon us, more than 58 million Americans aged 18 and older say they resolve to better manage their finances in 2006.  Additionally, 29 million say they plan on making a major purchase, such as buying a car, next year, according to a nationwide consumer poll conducted by Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics (AWARE), a group of automotive industry leaders providing free tips and resources on vehicle financing.

To help consumers be wise shoppers and keep their finances in shape throughout 2006, AWARE offers 10 suggested “resolutions” for those shopping for a new or used vehicle:

  1. Know what you want and can afford.  Before visiting the dealer, determine what type of vehicle best meets your needs and set a realistic price range that fits your budget. Do some research. Use the Internet, auto buying guides and consumer publications to learn about the vehicles that are on your short list.
  2. Review your credit report. That way, you know what creditors will see, plus you can correct any errors you find. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) via the Internet at, by calling 1-877-322-8228 toll-free, or by writing to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA  30348-5281.
  3. Comparison shop. Check annual percentage rates and other financing terms from multiple sources, such as banks, credit unions, finance companies and dealers.
  4. Understand the difference between buying and leasing a vehicle. "Keys to Vehicle Leasing," a publication of the Federal Reserve Board, provides useful information on this topic and can be downloaded from the Internet at
  5. Educate yourself. Make sure you are familiar with common terms you're likely to hear or read in the course of purchasing or financing a vehicle, such as down payment, fixed- and variable-rate financing, and on- and off-site financing.  
  6. Negotiate. This applies to the finance rate you are offered as well as the price of the vehicle.
  7. Understand the value and cost of optional services. Examples include credit insurance, guaranteed auto protection, and extended service contracts. If you do not want such services, do not sign for them.
  8. Read any contract carefully before signing it.  sk questions about anything you do not understand.
  9. Make your payments on time. Late or missed payments incur late fees and can even cause your vehicle to be repossessed, permanently.  A bad payment record will also appear on your credit report, damaging your ability to get credit in the future.

The national poll, conducted by KRC Research on November 17-21, questioned 1,030 Americans aged 18 and older.

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