BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are approaching 2014 with a positive financial outlook. According to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index ® , 32 percent think 2014 will be better for them financially than 2013, the most optimistic they've been about the year ahead since December 2007 (42 percent). The relatively rosy forecast comes as the overall COUNTRY Index dipped 0.2 points this month, driven by a drop in the ability to save.
Those Americans expecting an improved financial future are banking on increased income expectations (48 percent), decreased debt (14 percent) and improvements in the economy (14 percent) in 2014. For the 25 percent of Americans who feel 2014 will be worse for them financially, most say a worsening economy (41 percent) and increased healthcare expenses (20 percent) will be to blame.
"It's great to see more Americans are optimistic about their 2014 financial situation. Creating a financial plan – or reviewing your existing one – will help ensure that confidence remains throughout the year," says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. "While there are outside factors affecting financial security you can't control, focus on those you can control when laying out your short-term and long-term financial goals."
2013 Index in Review
Americans' financial security sentiments have been little changed over the past year, with the exception of their ability to save. This month, 48 percent were able to set aside money for savings, down four points from June and marking the first reading below 50 percent since December 2011.
COUNTRY Financial Security
Have enough money to enjoy a
Have enough resources to send
their children to college
Able to pay off debts as they
"It's not surprising to see a drop in savings this time of year with the holiday season in full swing. As for the fairly consistent financial security sentiments overall, this may be a sign that Americans have settled into the new economic reality," adds Buhrmann. "Moving into 2014, redefine what financial security means for you. That way you can map out a realistic plan for your individual needs."
For more information and an infographic of the findings, visit www.countryfinancialsecurityblog.com.
The COUNTRY Financial Security Index ®
Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The COUNTRY Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at www.countryfinancialsecurityblog.com and on Twitter at @FinanceSecure.