Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE: LNC) announced today results of a survey that show that four in five Americans (80%) are optimistic about the future. According to the study, which Lincoln Financial refers to as Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America, the percentage of people who exhibit optimism is up eight points from 2011, the last time the company conducted the research.
The survey also found that slightly more than four in 10 (43%) of Americans polled feel the country is on the right track, nearly two in three (64%) believe the economy has gotten better since the downturn, and almost eight in 10 (78%) are optimistic about their overall financial futures.
Steps in the Right Direction
In addition, 68 percent of study participants (compared to 66% in 2011) identify themselves as being "in control," a mindset that combines how comfortable respondents feel about their overall life, personal/family life, health and financial future. Not surprisingly, being debt-free (75%), staying within a budget (70%), paying credit card bills in full each month (68%) and putting money away for retirement (62%) were identified by these respondents as very important financial steps to take to gain control.
"Empowering people to take charge is a core tenet of what Lincoln Financial stands for in the marketplace," said Dennis R. Glass, president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group. "We continue to believe financial preparedness is best when it is rooted in optimism that leads to action, and it is promising that so many Americans are not only confident about the future, but are also taking steps to gain control of it."
Little Things Go a Long Way
Lincoln Financial’s latest poll also found that, more broadly, being empowered and living life with a "take charge" attitude is driven by everyday behaviors. This is true regardless of someone’s race, age or socioeconomic status.
The 10 values that "take charge" Americans hold dear include:
- Being financially independent
- Spending time with family
- Setting aside "me time"
- Having enough time to relax or to do the things they want to do
- Planning ahead
- Always being on time for meetings and appointments
- Giving their best effort at work
- Eating healthy
- Visiting the doctor or dentist annually for check-ups
- Getting a good night’s sleep and getting up early in the morning
A Financial Disconnect
While people polled are optimistic and confident in numerous areas, the M.O.O.D. study found that concern, worry and a sense of unpreparedness continue to exist on several financial fronts. Key findings along these lines include:
- Top financial concerns that keep Americans up at night include personal debt (39%), retirement planning (32%) and taxes (31%).
- Only 18 percent of those at the doorstep of retirement — respondents between the ages of 55 and 64 — say they feel "very prepared" for the next financial phase of life.
- People between the ages of 45 and 54 are even less confident, with just 11 percent of those polled saying they feel "very prepared."
"Overall optimism aside, the fact that such a large percentage of Americans closest to retirement say they feel ill-prepared is alarming," said Glass. "It is important now, more than ever, that people be empowered to take charge by viewing financial concerns through a lens of opportunity, not through one of insurmountable challenge."
Light at the End of the Retirement Tunnel
For many Americans, one of the primary ways to secure a sound financial future is by seeking advice from a financial professional. Specifically, the study found that "in control" Americans who speak with a financial advisor are six times more likely (35% compared to 6%) to feel "very prepared" for retirement than their counterparts who have neither taken control of their lives nor spoken with a financial professional.
Financial professionals also top the list of sources that M.O.O.D. respondents identified as being the preferred source of information. The study found that 38 percent of those polled say they use financial advisors or planners for financial advice. Other sources Americans turn to include:
- Information obtained via online searches: 35 percent
- Spouse or significant other: 31 percent
- Friends: 24 percent
- Parents and other family members (excluding children): 21 percent
"Building a solid financial plan is becoming more and more complex, and today there are more sources of information to choose from than ever before," said Will Fuller, president of Lincoln Financial Group Distribution. "Study results clearly show that a trusted advisor is the most desirable source of guidance for many Americans, and that’s because the knowledge and expertise they bring to the table help people take charge of their financial future."
Read more information on the M.O.O.D. of America, including supporting documentation for the findings.
About the M.O.O.D of America
Issuing the initial wave of results from the study is the first in a series of releases Lincoln Financial has planned for the remainder of the year. Upcoming waves of data will be cut further by gender and sexual orientation, as well as along multi-cultural and generational lines.
Results for the current M.O.O.D. of America poll (Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction) are based on an online survey conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies (WINS), on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group. The research was conducted in late March 2013, among 2,322 adults 18 years of age and older across the United States.
The margin of error is +/- 1.9% at the 95% confidence interval for the entire sample. The sample was weighted by gender, age, region, race and ethnicity. Demographic weighting targets are based on the 2010 U.S. Census figures for adults 18 years of age and older.
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. With headquarters in the Philadelphia region, the companies of Lincoln Financial Group had assets under management of $186 billion as of March 31, 2013. Through its affiliated companies, Lincoln Financial Group offers: annuities; life, group life, disability and dental insurance; employer-sponsored retirement plans; savings plans; and comprehensive financial planning and advisory services.