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COUNTRY Financial Security Index

New Study: Despite Recent Market Volatility, More than Half of Americans Feel Financially Prepared For Their Financial Future

Yet, only 28 percent have a financial plan in place, with older Americans and men being more prepared than millennials.

March 21, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, IL (March 21, 2018) – The Dow Jones Industrial Average recently showed signs of a correction after suffering two daily drops of more than 1,000 points. Despite the plunge, about half of Americans report they are financially prepared should it happen again. 

The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® revealed that more than half of Americans (52 percent) say they are financially prepared if the Dow were to lose an additional 6,000 points. Yet, only 28 percent claim to have a financial plan in
place.

When it comes to financial preparedness for another market drop, confidence varies by age and gender. Sixty-five percent of millennials do not consider themselves financially prepared for another down market in comparison to 70 percent of older Americans (age 65+) and men (57 percent) who believe they are equipped to handle a drop.

“Recent fluctuation in the stock market likely tested some Americans’ financial plans,” says Doyle Williams, an executive vice president at COUNTRY Financial. “While there has been some market volatility, there’s no reason to panic. Americans can take some simple steps to better manage their savings, including diversifying their assets and developing longer-term strategies that don’t change with every market fluctuation.”   

Some Americans Expect a Volatile Year with the Stock Market Americans are split on the direction of the stock market in 2018. More than 1 in 4 (27 percent) say the market will gain value while nearly a quarter (23 percent) expect the market to lose value. 

Men (35 percent) expect the market to gain more ground than women (20 percent). In fact, women (27 percent), Baby Boomers (28 percent) and those with a college degree (32 percent) are among the most pessimistic when it comes to the stock market, as they expect it to lose ground. 

Perhaps more telling is that nearly 3 in 10 (29 percent) Americans simply “don’t know” what to expect from the stock market this year. However, a small number of Americans (19 percent) think the market will stay the same. 

Preparing for Another Market Drop

The major Dow drop took many Americans by surprise last month, but many feel they will be financially prepared should it happen again. Only 15 percent of Americans believe they would be unprepared for a 6,000 point Dow drop, while 3 in 10 (32 percent) are “not sure” if they would be financially prepared for such an event.

Further, Americans are unsure how the market will affect their retirement savings. Six in 10 Americans (61 percent) are “not sure” of how long their
retirement might be delayed should a large 6,000 point drop in the Dow occur. Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) estimate such a drop might delay their ability to save for retirement by one to two years. 

“While the stock market is out of an individual’s control, Americans can be prepared for future market drops,” Williams said. “Taking some simple steps, like talking to your financial professional about how to achieve your financial goals, can help you remain confident during periods of market volatility.” 

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About The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at www.countryfinancial.com/newsroom and on Twitter at @helloCOUNTRY.

 

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by GfK, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using GfK’s KnowledgePanel®, a national, probability-based panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from approximately 1,006 U.S. adults for national surveys. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

 

About COUNTRY Financial®

The COUNTRY Financial® group (www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a wide range of financial products and services from auto, home, business and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.