Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger Survey Reveals 84% of Americans Worry About Finances, Despite Economic Rebound

Almost Three-Fourths Are More Frugal Now Than A Year Ago

WASHINGTON--()--The stock market is up and the economy is on the mend, but Americans are still struggling to find a financial foothold, according to the Thrivent Financial/ Kiplinger Survey of Family Finances released today. The results—which appear in the June 2010 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine on newsstands May 11 and online now at kiplinger.com/links/moneysurvey—reveal that while the economy is recovering, 84% of Americans are worried about their finances.

Other key findings of the wide-ranging poll, conducted by Synovate eNation, delved into the differences between sexes, between spouses and partners, and among age groups. Highlights include:

  • Americans are “struggling.” That’s how one-third of the 1,000 respondents replied when asked to describe their financial situation today. Another 24% said they were “worried,” versus 29% who described their financial situation as “stable.” What’s more, 43% said things had gotten worse over the past two years, versus only 18% whose situation had improved.
  • They’re less willing to take risks. A whopping three-fourths of those interviewed say recent market volatility has affected the way they handle money—at least a little. And 55% are less willing to take risks with their money.
  • Financial stability is their top priority. Nearly 60% said their most important financial goal is maintaining financial stability, compared with 23% who aim to increase their assets. In contrast, two years ago 37% were more concerned about building assets versus 41% who wanted to maintain stability.

“The ‘new frugality,’ is perhaps here to stay,” said Patrick Egan, director, Asset Management, for Thrivent Financial. “However, while expectations may have shifted, security and stability are well within reach for those who take the time and make the effort to set financial goals and monitor progress.” Additional findings:

  • As Americans, our concerns have shifted. “Not enough retirement savings” continues to be the most prevalent worry among respondents, cited by about one-fifth of those surveyed. But today people are more concerned about losing their job—18% versus 15% two years ago—and less about credit-card debt—13% versus 18%. And only 16% of respondents report that they are worry-free.
  • Women are more worried than men. Even though men have been hit harder by layoffs during the recession, women were more likely to say they were struggling financially (37% versus 29%). And roughly 29% said the recession had caused tension between them and their spouse or partner. Also, the gender gap is disappearing as to who is making financial decisions in the household: Nearly half of all married couples said they do their finances together.
  • Marriage contributes to financial stability. Unmarried respondents were far more likely than their married counterparts to report that they were struggling (40% versus 28%) and less likely to describe their situation as stable (23% versus 34%).
  • Charitable activities have suffered. The recession has taken its toll on charitable activities. Asked if they give back either financially or through volunteer efforts, a significant number—34%—said no.
  • Generosity and thrift are top legacies. Generosity ranked highest as the financial virtue people would most like to leave their children. But thrift was the overwhelming choice among older age groups. And business sense, a dark horse, ran a strong third.

“Whether readers are getting their financial bearings or are seasoned investors, the Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger survey indicates that Americans are worried about the future,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “Now, more than ever, we at Kiplinger’s pride ourselves on offering readers practical advice about personal finance and investing. The latest example is “Smart Moves for Life’s Big Events,” which accompanies the survey in our June issue.”

Conducted in March 2010, the Synovate eNation online survey polled 1,000 adults 18 years of age or older in the contiguous United States. The survey has a margin of error of 3% points.

Readers can log on to kiplinger.com/links/moneysurvey to take the Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger Survey, and see how they stack up.

Related Information

About Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a not-for-profit, Fortune 500 financial services membership organization helping approximately 2.6 million members achieve financial security and give back to their communities. Thrivent Financial and its affiliates offer a broad range of financial products and services. As a not-for-profit organization, Thrivent Financial creates and supports national outreach programs and activities that help congregations, schools, charitable organizations and individuals in need. For more information, visit Thrivent.com. Also, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine has been providing millions of Americans with down-to-earth advice on managing their money and achieving financial security since 1947. Along with Kiplinger.com, it is a highly trustworthy source of information on saving and investing, taxes, credit, homeownership, paying for college, retirement planning, car buying, and many other personal-finance topics. Join Kiplinger on Facebook and follow Kiplinger on Twitter.

Contacts

Kiplinger
Laura Stevens, 202-862-4372
lauras@rosengrouppr.com
Alison Goldstein, 646-695-7040
alison@rosengrouppr.com
or
Thrivent Financial
David Rustad, 612-844-7037
dave.rustad@thrivent.com
Brett Weinberg, 612-844-4272
brett.weinberg@thrivent.com

Release Summary

New Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger poll finds 84% of Americans have some financial worries about future. 71% have become intentionally more frugal, and economics have affected family relationships.

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Contacts

Kiplinger
Laura Stevens, 202-862-4372
lauras@rosengrouppr.com
Alison Goldstein, 646-695-7040
alison@rosengrouppr.com
or
Thrivent Financial
David Rustad, 612-844-7037
dave.rustad@thrivent.com
Brett Weinberg, 612-844-4272
brett.weinberg@thrivent.com