More workers are pessimistic about the health of the U.S. economy in 2014, but they are increasingly satisfied with their own personal financial situations, according to new research from the Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers.
Forty percent of workers expect the economy to worsen in 2014, which is up significantly from last year’s 27 percent. Another 32 percent think the economy will improve in the year ahead, but that number is down from the 43 percent reported last year.
Meanwhile, 42 percent of employees - up from 33 percent last quarter - said they are "extremely happy" with their current financial well-being. That number soars to 60 percent among employees who work with a financial professional.
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Principal between Oct. 25 and Nov. 5 among 1,106 employees of small to mid-sized businesses with between 10 and 1,000 employees.
“Following the recent peak in economic optimism at this time last year, workers have returned to a more cautious outlook as they approach 2014,” said Luke Vandermillen, vice president of retirement and investor services with Principal. “As they prepare to ring in the New Year, it’s encouraging to see American workers take action by focusing on their own personal finances instead of what they can’t control—the economy. It’s no surprise those working with a financial professional are the happiest, likely because they have a plan and feel more in control.”
Other findings from the report:
• Employees’ top financial blunders for 2013 include not saving (21%); accumulating credit card debt (9%, down from 13% last year) and taking on more debt (8%).
• About half of employees (48%) do not feel better off financially than they did at the beginning of 2013, while two out of five employees (42%) do feel better off.
• Nearly three quarters of employees (71%) indicate they blew their budget in 2013 in at least one area, with top offenders being dining out, food/groceries and gas.