June 16, 2011

I’m OK, You’re Not: In CFP Survey, Americans Feel Better About Own Finances Than Economy

Board's survey shows Americans also lack confidence in advisors but would sit down with them to make a plan

Americans’ trust in financial planners took a hit during the recession, and they’re not confident the economy will rebound over the next year. Yet people who have a personal-finance plan—however vague—are more optimistic and willing to contribute to the economy, according to a survey released Thursday.

And despite their mistrust, most people would happily sit down with an advisor to work out a formal financial plan, according to the KRC Research survey, conducted in partnership with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.

“Trust in financial planners is shaken due to the recent financial crisis. However, if given one hour with a financial planner, people would take advantage of it, focusing on retirement and budget planning,” the survey’s key findings say.

The survey was conducted with 1,011 adults 18 years and older between June 2 and June 6.

Having a plan of attack affects a person’s outlook, and those who report having a financial plan are much more optimistic than those who don’t. The majority of Americans believe that everyone should have a financial plan in place, though “most simply have some goals in their head that they are working toward,” the survey concludes.

Three in five Americans are gloomy about the overall economy, the survey shows.  But they have a sunnier perspective on their own situations. “They are more than twice as likely to believe their own personal situation will get better rather than worse (38% to 17% respectively), though a plurality believe their status will remain about the same (45%),” the survey shows.

The findings suggest there is “a gap between how Americans view financial plans and knowing the best way to build and maintain one,” said Charles Moran, chairman of the CFP Board’s board of directors, in a statement.

“While our country continues to grapple with sustained unemployment and other economic headwinds, Americans have a more positive outlook on their own personal finances,” Moran said. “And those people who have a financial plan believe that their own situation will improve over the next year and are willing to contribute to the economy by spending more.”

Read Planners Beware: More Probes by CFP Board at AdvisorOne.com.

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