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Low-income families least likely to change spending habits from increased taxes

Published: Tuesday, March 26 2013 11:29 a.m. MDT

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. The new payroll taxes that started in January were anticipated to affect low-income households the most. However, those with low income were the least likely to notice a change, according to a recent study by Bankrate.

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

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Despite the increased payroll taxes that came in with the new year, only 30 percent of Americans cut spending, according to a Bankrate survey.

Those who were least likely to cut spending were the low-income households. Part of this is because almost half of Americans — 48 percent — didn’t notice the higher taxes. Most of those with the lowest income didn’t notice the tax change.

“These results contradict the widely held assumption that lower-income households would feel the biggest squeeze from the payroll tax cut expiring,” said Greg McBride, CFA, and Bankrate’s senior financial analyst.

Households that made $50,000 to $75,000 were the most likely to cut spending. Likewise, if a college graduate was the head of the house, they were most likely to notice the higher payroll taxes.

Even with the increased taxes, Americans are better off financially now than they were one year ago, according to Bankrate. The Financial Security Index is rated through job security, debt, net worth and overall financial situation.

All of these components improved over the past month, though Americans are still lacking in savings.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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