In the wake of the Commerce Department’s finding that GDP contracted by 0.7 in the first quarter, market-watchers are suggesting the U.S. economy may be entering a slowdown. But the dismal Q1 result hasn’t —as yet — impacted Americans’ positive outlook on the future and their own financial well-being.
For fresh evidence of this, look no further than new research from Lincoln Financial Group. The study, “Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America on Employee Benefits,” reveals that nearly 9 in 10 (88 percent) of working Americans are optimistic about their future. And 75 percent say they are “in control” of their lives.
These sentiments have been following an upward trajectory in recent years. Those expressing similar optimism about the future totaled just 72 percent in 2011; the figure jumped to 80 percent in 2013 and again to 87 percent last year.
Likewise, the proportion of Americans indicating they’re in control of their lives rose from 66 percent in 2011 to 71 percent in 2014. Optimism about their financial future also edged from 68 percent in 2011 to 83 percent last year.
Despite these positive statistics, fewer than 1 in 5 respondents feel “very secure” about their financial future. And only 18 percent say are “very confident” they can cover current expenses in the event of a major injury or illness.
“The results underscore the need for and benefits of non-medical workplace products, ”Including disability insurance, dental insurance, accident insurance, critical illness insurance and life insurance — and the ability of these products to heighten an employee’s sense of confidence in covering future health care costs,” the survey states.
While most employees surveyed are confident they can afford their health care expenses today, 40 percent believe health care costs will negatively impact their retirement.
Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents are mostly concerned with getting cancer. Research supports the sentiment that participation in non-medical benefits can help ease fears regarding overall health concerns and associated health care costs.
Critical illness and accident insurance enrollees feel significantly more secure about their financial future, at 27 percent and 25 percent respectively, versus 17 percent and 16 percent of non-enrollees. These enrollees also report higher levels of optimism, and feel more in control of their lives.
Among employees offered non-medical benefits, enrollment is highest for dental insurance, and widely used and recognized benefit:
The report’s results are based on a national survey of employees conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies (WINS) on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group. The research was conducted in early February 2015, among 933 employed adults ages 22 to 69.