Which behaviors lead to emotional and financial confidence and satisfaction?
To determine this, the Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America surveyed 4,971 workers age 18 and older working full time or part time, never retired, with household incomes of $50,000 or more for its Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence.
“The results reinforce what many people already know at a gut level: that an individual’s overall life satisfaction and well-being is inextricably linked with his or her financial well-being,” the study states.
According to the study, 79% of working Americans surveyed reported serious stress-based concerns about their lives — with finances being a major driver of stress — while only 21% are confident about their current behaviors and future prospects.
If the 79% who lack confidence adopted some of the attitudes and behaviors of the 21% who are confident, they potentially could see their stress levels — both financial and otherwise — decrease and their confidence rise.
The study finds that there are specific “model behaviors” that confident planners exhibit. The study breaks it down into four particular behaviors:
The study finds that the survey respondents who lived within set means and had a written financial plan with specific objectives were more confident.
According to the study, 37% of those surveyed have a written financial plan. However, the study also finds that many of these plans lack core elements.
When it comes to planning, confident planners practice staying within their means and are much more focused on the long term than the short-term. They also have a long-term financial plan with clear, attainable goals.
However, nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed did not describe themselves as being good at living within their means.
“Proper planning can help individuals get on track financially now and in the future,” the study states. “Having a written financial plan and reviewing it annually is a sound strategy.”
The study finds that only a third or fewer of workers have a solid understanding of many common financial products.