Majority of Americans Confident About Personal Finances

Despite a lack of confidence in the overall economy, more than eight in 10 (83%) Americans believe their personal financial situation will remain the same or improve during the upcoming year, according to a national survey. 

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP) surveyed more than 1,000 Americans and found that those with a financial plan are more optimistic about their finances than those without.   

Planning ahead for financial goals has been shown to make a significant impact on one’s outlook with 58% of Americans indicating that they would feel more confident about their finances if they had a financial plan in place. More than four in five (86%) respondents agree with the statement, “Everyone should have a financial plan. Even if you have very little money it is good to know in advance how you will spend it and the best means of growing what you have.” 

Nearly four out of five people (79%) claim to have a financial plan; however, the majority do nothave an official, written document – almost half (46%) said they just have a plan in their head, and 11% only have notes or ideas written down. Forty-two percent of respondents said they had an official written plan.

CFP also found that trust in financial planners has been shaken due to the recent financial crisis. However, if given one hour with a financial planner, people would take advantage of it and choose to focus on retirement and budget planning. Thirty-six percent of Americans reported working with a financial planner or adviser.

As for the overall economy, the majority of Americans (59%) are not confident that it will rebound within the next year.  The majority of respondents also have experienced negative fallout from the recession with 53% having delayed making a big purchase and 45% dipping into their savings.  

These findings suggest there is "a gap between how Americans view financial plans and knowing the best way to build and maintain one. They clearly understand the importance of a financial plan, but too many Americans are not taking the necessary steps to formalize it in a concrete, comprehensive way,” noted Charles A. Moran, CFP, Chair of CFP Board's Board of Directors.