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Americans Increasingly Anxious about Finances

Nearly two out of three Americans are more concerned about their finances today than they were at the beginning of the financial crisis two years ago, according to a new survey. The survey of 1,002 Americans, conducted for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, found that 37 percent of the respondents expect to see their personal finances improve in the next six months, versus 46 percent who expect to hold onto what they currently have, and 16 percent who expect to lose money.

Eighty percent of Americans say that Congress and regulators have not done enough to deal with financial market problems and their impact on American investors. One bright spot in the findings is that 44 percent of Americans expect the U.S. economy to improve in the next six months, while only 28 percent expect matters to worsen. A smaller group (22 percent) anticipates no change in the economy.

When asked to describe how they feel about their personal finances, the No. 1 response from Americans was “cautious” (33 percent), followed by “calm” (26 percent), “concerned” (25 percent) and “hopeful” (25 percent).

Just 38 percent of whites expect the economy to improve, compared to 51 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of African Americans.

Forty-three percent of the respondents to the survey think financial planners are now “more important in the last two years since the start of the financial crisis,” compared to 36 percent who see no change, and 14 percent who now see planners as being “less important.”

Overall use of financial planners by Americans has remained almost unchanged during the first two years of the U.S. financial crisis, starting at 29 percent compared to 28 percent today. Of those who have started using a financial planner since the beginning of the financial crisis, nearly a third (31 percent) say they have done so because “I felt like I needed more financial guidance during these difficult times for investors.” A larger percentage of those in this group (44 percent) said they have begun using a financial planner during the past two years for reasons “unrelated to the financial crisis.”

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About the Author

Ismail Bharmal, CPA, EA, Bharmal & Associates, Inc.
12062 Valley View Street, Suite 237A
Garden Grove, CA 92845

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