NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- No doubt about it, Americans have had a tough past few years as a wheezing, gasping economy lowered living standards and forced many to re-evaluate how they view key personal financial themes such credit and debt.
The figures don't lie:
- 20% of U.S. households have student loan debt, up from 9% in 1989.
- About 33% of Americans say they are now members of the lower economic class, up from 25% only four years ago.
- Median U.S. household income fell 4.1% in the past two years, from $52,000 to $50,000.
In fact, Americans have been beaten down so much over the past few years that many have shrugged their shoulders, readjusted their attitudes on money, credit and debt and are more willing to cut corners financially or even ignore bad financial news. That's the conclusion of a study from ID Analytics, a San Diego consumer risk management firm.
The IDA study points out three breaking points for U.S. consumers that show just how significantly attitudes about money (especially debt) have shifted since the advent of the so-called Great Recession:
- It's OK to walk away from a home loan. Sixty-eight percent of Americans say it's OK to strategically default on a mortgage debt and walk away from a mortgage obligation with no penalty or accountability. The study suggests a representative 13% of Americans would "likely" default on a mortgage loan and 17% "know someone" who has defaulted on a home mortgage.
- It's OK to lie about credit. IDA found that 17% of Americans would "exaggerate" personal financial information to get credit or a loan.
- It's OK to have a lousy credit score. The IDA study also says 36% of Americans say it's "socially acceptable" to have a low credit score.