This 2014 figure is up from 78% in 2013 and 68% three years ago, according to Lincoln’s Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (MOOD) of America Survey. In addition, three in five respondents (60%) believe their financial situation will get better during the next year, which is nearly twice as many compared to 2011, when just 33% anticipated financial improvements in in the next year.
The MOOD survey also finds that the majority of respondents (87%) are optimistic about their overall future. That finding is up 7% from a year ago and 15% from 2011, the first year the survey was conducted.
Feeling More in Control
Almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents in 2014 believe they are in control of their finances, their health and their overall lives, compared with 68% in 2013 and 66% in 2011.
The survey finds that those who believe they are in control when it comes to their financial future are more likely to prioritize saving for retirement (69% in 2014 compared with 62% in 2013) and actively protect their wealth, assets and savings (68% in 2014 compared with 62% in 2013).
Other financial priorities identified by “in control” Americans include:
- Being debt free (73% in 2014, compared with 75% in 2013);
- Paying credit card bills in full each month (71% in 2014, compared with 68% in 2013);
- Paying for their child’s education (48% in 2014, compared with 61% in 2013); and
- Meeting regularly with a financial professional (20% in 2014, compared with 19% in 2013).
While the survey finds that Americans are optimistic about the future, there is also a disconnect when it comes to savings preparedness, particularly for retirement. For instance, although 58% of respondent say protecting their wealth is more important today than five years ago, fewer than two in 10 (15%) feel they are very prepared to protect their wealth. And while more Americans overall feel more prepared for retirement (58% in 2014 versus 55% in 2013), just 18% say they are very prepared for retirement, about the same from a year ago.
Retirement preparedness is a different story for in-control respondents. Almost seven in 10 of them (68%) say they are prepared for retirement, with 23% saying they are very prepared. In-control respondents are found to be more likely to rely on financial professionals for expertise and advice, with 42% saying they use advisers for support, compared with 31% of those “not in control.”
Dennis R. Glass, president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group, based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, believes that through education and by raising awareness of the issues that are at the heart of financial preparedness, employees can bridge the gap between inertia and activity when it comes to their financial futures.
The MOOD survey is the third in a series where the company has polled Americans on various topics, including financial attitudes and behaviors. The first survey was conducted in late 2011, and released early in 2012.
The 2014 survey is based on online research conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies, on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group. The research was conducted in late March, among 2,352 adults 18 years of age and older across the United States. An executive summary about the survey can be found here.
Lincoln Financial Group is a provider of retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise.