Most Americans feel well-equipped to make important financial decisions, but significant numbers worry they are making less progress than they should toward reaching financial goals, according to the latest quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll.
Americans were also pessimistic about the economy, and had limited confidence in most major institutions, the poll found.
The Obama presidency hit a low-water mark in the Heartland Monitor Poll series: just 23% of Americans believed the country was headed in the right direction.
The quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Polls explore Americans’ personal financial experiences, their views on the financial system and their opinion of how the federal government’s budget situation affects their personal finances.
The most recent poll was conducted by FTI Consulting Nov. 2–6 among 1,000 American adults age 18 and older reached via landline and cell phone.
Seventy-three percent of respondents across the political spectrum believed the recent federal government shutdown and national debt had negatively affected them on a personal level.
Among those feeling personally affected, 33% believed the main result would be tax hikes, and 26% felt it would mean fewer opportunities for them to get jobs and pay increases.
Although 58% of respondents believed participating in the financial system was the safest and most reliable way to secure their families’ financial future, a substantial 35% worried that the system was too volatile, complicated and unreliable to provide a secure future.
They also thought the economy was struggling, with more than half saying the U.S. remained in recession, and few believing economic improvements were on the horizon.
At the same time, 89% of Americans said they were confident they understood information about important financial decisions. As well, healthy majorities were confident they had the information they needed to buy a home, plan their retirement and set up an inheritance.