American Financial Worries Drop

rbrs_0018Early last month, the financial worries of Americans fell to their lowest levels since 2007, a sign that higher taxes and federal government spending cuts have not dampened the belief in an overall recovery. However, the number remained moderately high as concerns about retirement linger. That likely will not end for years, or even decades. The problems that trigger these concerns will affect the way that Americans live and work as they get older.

Gallup reported on Americans' financial worry:

Americans' financial worry has eased to the lowest level since before the recession. Gallup classifies 53% of Americans as highly or moderately worried about their finances, down from a peak of 61% a year ago, and the lowest since 45% in 2007.

Americans realize that very few people in the country have adequate savings for either one-time financial catastrophes or their long-term retirement. This has caused the trend of people working much longer than expected. And the situation probably has been exacerbated by a fair worry that the federal government will have little choice but to cut entitlements to balance the deficit in the long term.

The notion that Americans will do worse than their parents financially may be untrue. Older Americans could see their incomes drop sharply as they reach their 70s or 80s, particularly if their health or ability to work cripples the sizes of their tiny savings and harms their chances to live with some economic buffer. Gallup observes:

Retirement savings and paying medical costs in the event of a serious illness or accident are most worrisome to Americans.

The social safety net will be torn no matter what. Most economists believe the payments that support it are unsustainable. The net of that tearing is indeed a longer work life for the aged. That will pressure the ability of younger Americans to get jobs. Experts have pointed out that the high jobless rate of the young will linger as people who are older and have developed skills remain in the workforce. Economic pessimism could increase again even in a recovery, at least among those under 25. They have started to discover that they are competing with their grandparents for work.

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Methodology: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 4 to 14, 2013, with a random sample of 2,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Research

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