According to the fourth quarter “Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers,” 43% of workers anticipate economic improvements next year, up from just 32% last quarter. Despite their confidence in the state of the economy in 2013, more employees (42%, up from 32% last quarter) are stressed about the economy, but fewer workers (36%) are stressed about their personal finances than last quarter (42%).
Workers surveyed reported their worst financial blunders of 2012 were not saving enough (21%), accumulating credit card debt (13%) and not budgeting properly (10%). Their top financial resolutions for the new year are saving a set amount per month (29%), paying off credit card debt (27%) and cutting monthly spending (21%).
Compared with last quarter, more employees (71%, up from 65%) are very concerned about their long-term financial future. Three-quarters of Baby Boomers (75%) are very concerned about their long-term financial future and are the generation most likely to be concerned (64% of Gen Y; 72% of Gen X).
Two in five employees (43%) believe they are making good progress toward achieving their long-term financial goals. One-third of employees (32%) indicate they have not yet planned for their retirement savings/security. Nearly four in 10 employees who do not use a financial professional (36%) have not yet planned for retirement savings/security compared with 19% of employees who do use a financial professional.
Forty-two percent of Gen Y employees have not yet planned for retirement savings/security, compared with 33% of Gen X employees and 24% of Baby Boomer employees. Only one-third of employees (35%) believe they will be financially prepared for a comfortable retirement. Nearly half of employees who use a financial professional (46%) feel they will be prepared for a comfortable retirement compared to 31% of employees who do not use a financial professional.
For more than half of employees (53%), the biggest perceived threat to their retirement is insufficient retirement savings. Almost half of employees (48%) feel reductions in Social Security threaten their retirement, while one-third (34%) think reduced Medicare benefits is a threat. Fewer employees this year feel their retirement is threatened by market volatility (30%) and the use of retirement savings before retirement (16%).
The full report can be downloaded from http://www.principal.com/wellbeing/.