Recession Worries Up from Last Year

A national survey found that more Americans are "very concerned" about the impact of the recession on their personal finances this year compared to last.  

Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they are “very concerned” about their finances since the recession; that’s up from 43% in February 2010. (In 2009, 53% felt “very concerned.”)

The survey also found that the percentage who those who are saving enough for retirement decreased to 47%, from 52% in February 2010.

“The recession clearly has not ended for millions of Americans,” said Stephen Brobeck, Consumer Federation of America’s Executive Director and a founder of America Saves.  “The persistence of high unemployment rates, large consumer and mortgage debts, and the housing crisis may help explain the lack of saver progress,” he added.

However, the survey found a few positive trends as well. Over the past year, the proportion of those with a saving plan rose from 55% to 57%, those saving for retirement at work rose from 49% to 54%, and those saving automatically outside work rose from 41% to 44%.

Having a “savings plan” made a substantial difference in savings patterns. Eighty-eight of those with a savings plan spend less than their income and save the difference, versus 50% of respondents who behave this way without a plan.  Sixty-one percent of respondents with a plan feel like they are saving enough for retirement, versus 27% who do not have a plan.

“Developing a savings plan is key to reaching your savings goals,” said Ken McDonnell, Director, American Savings Education Council.  “Other research by EBRI has shown that individuals who have conducted a retirement needs calculation, for example, are more confident in their ability to reach that goal.”

The survey of more than 1,000 Americans was conducted jointly by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. America Saves is a national initiative in which over 1,000 organizations encourage and assist Americans, especially lower-income households, to save and build wealth. The American Savings Education Council is managed by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), and is a nonprofit national coalition of public- and private-sector organizations undertaking initiatives to raise public awareness about what is needed to ensure long-term personal financial independence.