New Survey Shows Americans Trying To Save; Positive Yet Uncertain About Their Finances

Analysis shows four discrete segments of respondents; each involves unique findings regarding money management, retirement savings and outlook on finances

By Paul Jarvis, CFP®

AreaVoices Financial Planning Blog

 

 A new national survey released this week by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) shows that Americans are trying to save despite having many other competing financial interests. At the same time, the survey reveals that some Americans are feeling optimistic about their financial futures, even with uncertainty about their own finances.

Many Americans face conflicting priorities and pressures in a slow growing economy and need a financial plan more than ever to better help prepare and save for the future.

A recent survey commissioned by KRC research that identifies American’s signature saving styles: Confident Savers, Concerned Strivers, Tentative Savers, and Stretched Worriers.

Click here to view an infographic of the survey findings.

Notable findings of the summary include:

  • Nearly half (48 percent) “don’t always have enough money left over to save after bills”;
  • More than a third (35 percent) of Americans have seen a significant decrease in household income;
  • A little over a third (34 percent) say that debt prevents them from saving;
  • Only half (51 percent) save money regularly on a monthly basis;
  • 35 percent of Americans utilize the services of a financial professional;
  • Roughly 1-in-3 Americans (30 percent) has experienced a job change in the past three years, and 1-in-5 (20 percent) has experienced a major medical expenditure;
  • Half of Americans (51 percent) believe credit card debt is the most important debt to pay off, followed by mortgages (one-third, 36 percent) and student loan debt (19 percent); and
  • More than one-third (36 percent) of Americans anticipate working in retirement.

Additionally, the survey includes a segmentation analysis that focuses on respondents’ propensity to save regularly – including for retirement – and their general feelings toward money. The analysis found that Americans fall into four distinct categories that are nearly equal in size – Concerned Strivers, Confident Savers, Stretched Worriers and Tentative Savers.

Key findings include:

Concerned Strivers – 27 percent of respondents

  • Concerned Strivers have high incomes, but still struggle to make ends meet due to financial demands, including mortgage debt, credit card debt and college payments.
  • Nearly all place a high importance on saving, but are concerned with their ability to save.
  • About half save money on a regular basis.
  • Nearly 7-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan.

Confident Savers – 22 percent of respondents

  • Confident Savers began saving for retirement around 25 years old.
  • Saving money is a top priority and they save money regularly on a monthly basis.
  • They feel confident about their financial future and retirement savings goals, and feel well prepared to make investment decisions.
  • Nearly 8-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored savings plan.

Tentative Savers – 24 percent of respondents

  • Tentative Savers skew older than Concerned Strivers, but have similar levels of income.
  • Almost 8-in-10 save regularly on a monthly basis, but are still concerned about their ability to save.
  • Nearly two-thirds are not confident they are saving enough for retirement.
  • Seven-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Stretched Worriers – 26 percent of respondents

  • Stretched Worriers are most likely to report being anxious about their financial futures.
  • They have been saving for retirement since age 35, on average.
  • This is the only segment where staying current on bills is a higher priority than saving.
  • Four-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored savings plan.

Level of income, education and investable assets strongly correlate across all segments. Not surprisingly, those with higher income, education and investable assets are generally more confident and positive toward savings, feel better informed about their savings options, and have positive attitudes toward their financial futures.

The 20-minute online survey was conducted May 13-16, 2016, of 1,000 adults 25 and over who are not unemployed or retired. A summary of the results can be found at www.cfp.net.

ABOUT Paul Jarvis

Paul Jarvis is a CFP Board Ambassador and leads United Capital’s office in Fargo. Read more of Paul’s blog by visiting financialplanning.areavoices.com or by calling 701-293-2076.