Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Americans Confident About Own Finances, Doubt Nation’s

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Americans are far more confident about their own financial plans than they are about the nation’s. Northwestern Mutual released on May 8 the third in its series of research reports on the state of financial planning in America and found 79% of Americans say they are moving in the right direction when it comes to debt management, compared with 11% who said the same about the nation.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans said they were doing well in their career while 28% said the nation was moving in the right direction concerning jobs.

Two-thirds of Americans expressed confidence about their saving and an equal percentage agreed about their spending habits. However, just 12% said the nation was doing a good job saving, and 13% said national spending was on the right track.

“With this year’s election cycle keeping financial planning topics in the headlines every day, it’s encouraging to see that individuals feel they are moving in the right direction,” Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual executive vice president, said in a statement. “The challenge is in staying on track over time. Throughout this study, what we’ve seen suggests that most Americans are still cautious about saving and investing, and many feel financially unprepared to live long lives. All of this is evidence of just how important it is to have a solid financial plan in place when it comes to achieving long-term financial security.”

Americans are also more confident about their own education, health and fitness than they are about the nation’s. Almost two-thirds said they were on track with their health and fitness goals, but only 23% felt the United States was doing a good job with health care. Three-quarters of Americans said their children’s education was on track and 19% said the same about the nation.

The second report in Northwestern Mutual’s series, released April 30, found 56% of Americans are financially prepared to support themselves if they live to age 75. The first report, which was released April 18, addressed Americans’ approach to financial planning and concluded that almost half have an informal approach, if they have a plan at all.