Americans’ financial outlook has improved somewhat but is still muted, causing a majority to plan to save more and continue to cut back on spending, a Harris Interactive survey of 2,331 adults in early December found.
When asked to compare their financial situation to last year, 42% feel less secure, an improvement from the 56% who shared that negative sentiment at the end of 2009. In addition, 19% feel more secure, and 36% feel just as secure as they did a year ago.
Looking ahead, 45% of Americans expect the economy to stay the same, 29% expect it to improve, and 26% think it could deteriorate.
As far as the job market is concerned, 63% say it is bad in their region of the country, 24% say it is neither good nor bad, and only 13% say it is good. Looking out into the next six months, 54% don’t expect any change in the job market, 22% say it could get worse, and 25% expect it to get better.
This downbeat viewpoint has prompted 49% to plan on cutting back on household spending in 2011, 41% to pay down their debt and 40% to save more. Twenty-two percent plan to save more for retirement, 22% will get rid of one or more credit cards, 13% will improve their home, 8% will invest in more conservative investments, 6% will refinance their mortgage, and 2% will take out a home equity line of credit. Eighteen percent, however, do not plan to do anything financially different in 2011.