Despite the economy's sluggish recovery, a new national survey from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research finds that nearly seven in 10 Americans (69 percent) have an optimistic outlook about their household finances for the next two years. Nearly one quarter (23 percent) are very optimistic.
Since the downturn began two years ago, 81 percent of Americans say they are more responsible with their household's money today than they were two years ago, with nearly half (46 percent) considering themselves much more responsible. Many indicated they've changed their financial habits, including buying items on sale (80 percent), becoming more concerned about saving money (78 percent) and learning how to budget better (68 percent). In fact, Americans say they are more likely today to be "saving as much as possible" than before the financial downturn (42 percent vs. 33 percent, respectively). Moreover, six in 10 report they are likely to continue the savings and spending patterns they started when the downturn began as soon as the economy recovers.
Women, on average, are more optimistic than men about their household financial future over the next two years (72 percent vs. 65 percent, respectively), more likely than men to have turned to family for help managing their finances over the past two years (59 percent vs. 50 percent), and more likely than men to feel in more control of their household's financial destiny today compared to two years ago (35 percent vs. 27 percent).
Few Americans relied on the help of an expert over the last two years. The survey found that a small segment leaned more than usual on financial advisers (19 percent) or their banks (17 percent) to help manage their household budget or finances.
While only 17 percent of Americans in the survey reported using social media during the past two years to obtain information on managing their finances, the nationwide trend of social media usage is rising exponentially.