Americans’ Optimism Doesn’t Match Retirement Readiness

While 81% of respondents to a survey feel optimistic about their financial futures, only one in five feel “very prepared” for retirement.

Lincoln Financial Group’s latest Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America Survey shows the majority of people polled (81%) feel optimistic about their financial future.

However, these positive attitudes are not translating into action-oriented behaviors. The data shows that only one in five Americans feels “very prepared” for retirement, protecting their wealth and handling income disruptions of varying durations. The top barriers to preparing for the future include a sense of feeling overwhelmed by the options for insurance coverage (70%) and retirement planning (67%), as well as the need to prioritize short-term expenses (65%).

When it comes to getting educated about those products and options, just 37% of Americans use advisers as a source of financial advice, compared with 30% each who turn to online research and spouses/significant others.

According to the study, 69% of Americans identified themselves as being “In control,” a mindset that reflects how comfortable respondents feel about their overall life, personal/family health and financial future. This number is up slightly from 2011 (66%), the first year the study was conducted.

NEXT: Difference between “In control” and not.

In control Americans continue to feel more optimistic, empowered and prepared than those who don’t identify themselves that way. Of those Americans who are in control, 94% feel optimistic about their financial future versus 53% of their counterparts. Specifically, they are more likely to own a variety of financial products in the insurance, annuity and retirement categories, as well as prioritize a number of actions to help create a more secure financial future.

Notable financial priorities of “in control” Americans include:

  • Being debt-free (70%);
  • Making sure they have access to health care plans for themselves and their families (69%);
  • Protecting their wealth, assets or savings (66%);
  • Paying their credit card bill(s) in full each month (64%); and
  • Putting money away for retirement (62%).

Results for the 2015 M.O.O.D. of America poll are based on a national survey conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies (WINS) on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group from March 31 to April 9, 2015, among 2,273 adults 18 years of age and older across the United States.

More information can be found here. The recently released Special Report: M.O.O.D. of America on Employee Benefits study is a companion piece that more closely examines non-medical workplace benefits and the ability of these products to heighten a worker’s confidence in their financial future.