What do you imagine of when you think of people in the financial services sector? Forget the size of their bonuses for a moment and consider their personalities. A little cautious perhaps? Prudent (if that word has been too debased by our former Chancellor/Prime Minister)? A good sense of humour probably doesn’t figure high on the list.
The American company Equifax describes itself as “a global leader in information solutions”. Customers have trusted Equifax for over 100 years to deliver business and financial information.
“Businesses – large and small – rely on us for consumer and business credit intelligence, portfolio management, fraud detection, decisioning technology [sic], marketing tools, and much more. We empower individual consumers to manage their personal credit information, protect their identity, and maximize their financial well-being.”
Their news releases are normally about consumer confidence, identity theft or the level of business and personal bankruptcy. The last is an important issue; so what follows came as a complete surprise. It is an unedited press release issued this month, proving that these folk do have a GSOH and recognise when the holiday season is upon us.
BANKRUPTCY – IS IT WRITTEN IN THE STARS?
Sagittarians top the league table for bankrupts; Capricorns are the least likely to be declared bankrupt according to new Equifax analysis.
London, 10th December 2010 – Leading credit information expert, Equifax, has analysed data on bankrupts to reveal some interesting patterns in financial management, according to star signs.
Research on a sample of the UK population suggests that Sagittarians have the highest percentage of bankruptcies and IVAs. Could this be because their birthdays are close to Christmas and there is a tendency to spend more as a result? This star sign has a love of spending and risk-taking which, based on the Equifax analysis, appears to increase their chances of getting into financial difficulties.
However, sitting next to Sagittarians in the astrological chart, Capricorns can take solace from the Equifax analysis. They are at opposite end of the bankruptcy league. The Goat is the shrewdest at making and keeping money, added to which their cautious nature means they are likely to have some sort of nest egg to see them through any financial hardship.
At number two in the Equifax bankruptcy rankings are Virgos, followed by Leos in third. Cancerians and Librans are close behind Capricorns at being the least likely to go bankrupt.
Whilst the analysis is relatively light-hearted – clearly lenders do NOT assess new credit applications by star signs – it does serve to highlight the long-term impact of being declared bankrupt which some considering this option as a route out of debt may not realise as Neil Munroe, external affairs director, Equifax, explained: “The fact of someone being declared bankrupt will stay on their credit file for six years – even though the actual bankrupt status may only last for one year.
“That means that well after they are no longer registered as bankrupt, individuals could still find it really difficult to get access to even the most simple credit arrangements – such as a mobile phone line rental, or paying by instalments for key services like utilities or insurance. And where they are able to get credit, they could find that they are charged higher premiums because lenders will regard the bankruptcy history as a credit risk.
“Bankruptcy really should be seen as the absolute last resort – and not an easy ‘fix’. We would advise everyone to look into all the alternatives before they go down this route. It may seem like an easy way to walk away from your debts, but there are long-term consequences. It’s always better to gain control of your finances and find a way to manage debts to avoid getting into desperate circumstances.”
Neil Munroe concludes, “No matter which star sign you are, Christmas is an expensive time of year and it’s easy to let spending get out of hand. This new analysis might, therefore, be a good prompt for Sagittarians, Virgos and Leos to keep a closer eye on their finances. However, we advise people to consult their Credit Report, rather than their horoscope when it comes to gaining an insight into their financial situation and staying out of debt!”