According to the Principal Financial Well-Being Index, the gender disparity carries over to Americans’ confidence in their financial future, with 49% of male workers reporting some level of confidence in their ability to achieve their dreams for their financial future, compared with only 36% of female workers.
Americans who use the services of a financial professional are significantly more likely to have taken steps toward preparing for retirement than those who do not. Only 12% of workers who use a financial professional have not yet begun to plan for retirement savings, compared with 32% of workers who do not.
The research also found an increase in optimism for the 2012 economic outlook. Twenty-seven percent of respondents report an optimistic outlook, up from just 12% in the third quarter of 2011. Pessimism is also dwindling, with just 17% indicating they are pessimistic in their outlook for the year, down from 28% in the third quarter last year.
Confidence is also on the rise among Americans when it comes to planning for the future and making financial dreams more of a reality. Forty-three percent of workers indicate some level of confidence in their ability to achieve their financial dreams, a 10% increase from the previous quarter.
While workers’ views on the economy and their financial future are improving, more than half (51%) rate their personal financial situation as “about the same” compared to this time last year. Many are still holding back on major expenditures: 41% report they are delaying any long-term financial commitments, such as buying a home or car, due to economic uncertainty.
The Principal Financial Well-Being Index surveyed American workers at growing businesses with 10 to 1,000 workers. The survey was conducted among 1,109 employees from January to February 2012 and was conducted online by Harris Interactive.
To see the full report and past results, visit www.principal.com/wellbeing.