“What recovery?” is the reaction of many Americans five years after the Great Recession, according to the latest Country Financial Security Index survey, released Wednesday.
The overall Country Index, which has measured financial sentiment before, during and after the recession, stood at 65.9 in June 2013, up from the low of 62.4 in August 2011, but still quite a way from the 69.9 recorded in August 2008.
Survey numbers tell the story: 54% of respondents felt less financially secure this year than they did five years ago, 19% felt the same, and just 27% felt more financially secure.
The index was compiled for Country Financial by Rasmussen Reports, an independent research firm, based on a national telephone and online survey of some 3,000 Americans.
Nearly half of respondents said the economy was worse than it had been five years ago, and another 19% said it was about the same. Twenty-nine percent felt it was better.
The survey found many Americans still reeling from the recession’s blows. Reduced retirement savings topped the list of lasting effects for 22% of respondents and depleted emergency savings for 21%.
However, only 8% put reduced home value at the top of the list.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans surveyed said the overall state of the economy had caused them to cut back spending to make ends meet, virtually unchanged from November 2008.
Another 41% said their financial situation was still recovering from the effects of the recession, and 19% said theirs would never recover.
“Americans, personally, may not be on the same page with reports about the state of the recovery,” Troy Frerichs, director of investments-wealth management at Country Financial, said in a statement.
“While we’ve come a long way, this recovery is by no means complete and we still have ground to make up. The important thing is not to look back, but to adjust to a new reality and redefine what financial security looks like in a perhaps permanently changed financial and economic landscape.”
Indeed, Americans are at best ambivalent about what the next five years portend.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents said their financial security would be better in five years than it was today, 21% said it would be about the same and 28% expected it to be worse.
Forty-six percent looked for another recession in the next five years, while only 22% were optimistic one would not occur. The remaining one-third was on the fence.
Thirty-six percent said an improved job market would make them feel more financially secure, and 25% said a decreased national debt would.
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