Personal Finance Snapshot: More Americans Are Feeling Financially Secure Compared to Last Year
A majority of Americans, driven by millennials, are feeling increasingly confident in matters of saving for retirement, paying down debt and insuring possessions, though concerns over affording college have grown.
BLOOMINGTON, IL – Americans are feeling increasingly more confident about their personal finances, according to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index®. The survey found that 56 percent of Americans describe their financial security as excellent or good—an eight percent increase from the 48 percent of people who responded the same way last year.
Millennials’ Improved Saving Habits
While the uptick in financial attitudes over the past year has been consistent across most demographic groups, the largest jump in attitudes interestingly came from younger Americans, ages 18 to 34. This age category saw a 12 percent increase (from 37 to 49 percent) in the number of people rating their financial health as excellent/good versus fair/poor over the last year.
This age group also showed the most year-over-year increase in saving behaviors. The number of millennials claiming to have put aside money for savings and investments over the past two months rose from 47 percent in 2017 to 55 percent in 2018 – comparable to the 56 percent of Americans overall who answered the same way.
“A feeling of financial security is highly subjective and depends on a number of different individual factors,” said Troy Frerichs, Director of Wealth Management and Financial Planning at COUNTRY Financial. “Regardless of how the economy is performing, families who are taking simple steps towards saving, preparing for retirement and paying off debts will most likely feel a greater sense of financial security.”
Retirement-Ready and Debt-Free
Preparedness for retirement and confidence in facing debt are two factors influencing Americans’ improved feelings about their personal finances. The number of Americans who feel prepared to live a comfortable life in retirement increased slightly from last year, as 60 percent of Americans believe they are somewhat (37 percent) or very (23 percent) likely to have enough money in retirement to live comfortably compared to the 58 percent who provided either response in 2017.
Meanwhile, Americans’ confidence in addressing their debts has remained consistent since last year: half (51 percent) of Americans are very confident that they can pay their debts in time, while another 27 percent are somewhat confident. Just 14 percent are not very or not at all confident.
Concerns for College Savings
In spite of a rising confidence in their financial situations, saving for college continues to be a source of concern among parents who expect to be responsible for a child’s college education. Within this demographic, six-in-ten (60 percent) feel very or somewhat confident they will have enough resources when the time comes to send their child to college–a seven percent decrease from 2017.
“As the price of tuition rises and parents are concerned with doing all they can to ensure their kids will be successful, for some families, saving for college is more daunting than the prospect of saving for retirement,” Frerichs continued.
“Taking action early to consider and plan for college savings will help you to reach your personal financial goals and achieve a better state of mind in the process.”
Confidence in Coverage
The majority of Americans (65 percent) are confident that their family would be able to live comfortably if they were to become disabled or die today. Unsurprisingly, Americans with higher incomes and 401Ks are more likely to feel confident that their family would be comfortable without their financial support.
In addition, close to eight-in-ten (78 percent) of Americans are somewhat or very confident that their possessions, such as their car or home, are adequately insured if they were damaged or destroyed.
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 Ipsos, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using Ipsos’ 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.
About Ipsos Public Affairs
Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry. At Ipsos we are passionately curious about people, markets, brands and society. We make our changing world easier and faster to navigate and inspire clients to make smarter decisions. We deliver with security, speed, simplicity and substance. We are Game Changers. With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. We develop and build brands. We help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. We test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Visit www.ipsos.com/en-us to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.