Americans Struggle to Save Despite Optimism about Financial Situation

    Americans Struggle to Save Despite Optimism about Financial Situation

New Allstate Financial "Life Tracks" poll reveals divide in abilities to make
ends meet

PR Newswire

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 12, 2013

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Just half (50 percent) of
Americans say they have enough money left over at the end of the month after
paying for essentials according to the new, second installment of Allstate
Financial's "Life Tracks" poll. More than four in 10 (41 percent) are living
paycheck-to-paycheck while another 8 percent say they don't earn enough each
month to pay for essentials. In the late December 2012 survey, responses
pointed to an overall lack of financial management skills and resources, but a
strong desire to do a better job in 2013.

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"This second Allstate Life Tracks Poll takes the pulse of Americans to measure
the health of their personal financial situations," said Don Civgin, president
and chief executive officer of Allstate Financial. "Too many Americans are
faced with financial challenges today that lead to an unstable future. As
financial services professionals, how we bridge that gap and bring greater
awareness to the financial issues people are facing, is the true test of
measurable success in our industry."

The Allstate Life Tracks Poll is intended to uncover attitudes and behaviors
based on a respondent's "life track," or the major life events that
individuals face at varying stages of life (see www.allstate.com/financial).
The following represents the top findings from the survey on how Americans are
managing their personal finances.

Divided we stand

The split between those with money left over after paying for expenses and
those that don't is reinforced by findings from the poll. An even 50 percent
of respondents feel their personal financial situation is "excellent" or
"good," while another 50 percent say it is "fair" or "poor."

  oMen (53 percent excellent/good) are more enthusiastic about their finances
    than women (47 percent excellent/good).
  oSingle parents (74 percent fair/poor) are notably the most financially
    challenged of all the "Life Tracks" segments.
  oOnly 46 percent of those in households making $50,000 per year or less
    have a retirement plan in place, compared to 89 percent of those in
    $75,000 or more per year income households.
  oOf the households making $50,000 or less annually, just a quarter say they
    have money left over at the end of the month.
  oOne-third of college graduates (32 percent) say they're living "paycheck
    to paycheck," compared to nearly half (48 percent) of non-graduates.

Positive thinking

Still, despite the range of financial experiences, nearly all (91 percent) are
confident in their own ability to manage their personal finances. This overt
optimism trickles down to major milestone expenses along with future security
perceptions.

  oForty-two percent of parents are very confident about their ability to pay
    for educational opportunities for their children.
  oFour in 10 (41 percent) Americans say they are very confident about their
    ability to pay for a new car.
  oClose to half (47 percent) of prospective homebuyers are very confident
    about their ability to buy a new home.
  oForty-one percent are very confident about being able to afford daily
    expenses during retirement.
  oA large majority (82 percent) of Americans think they're doing the same or
    better financially than their friends, neighbors and co-workers, and more
    than half (52 percent) say they're doing better than their family was when
    they were growing up.

Debt perception

Although they have earnest intentions to pay off debt, Americans are "treading
water" when it comes to debt, savings and investments. Eighty-two percent of
Americans say they make some kind of debt-related payment each month.

  oForty-nine percent say they pay credit card debt; 43 percent mortgage
    payments; 36 percent car payments; 17 percent student loan payments; and
    15 percent medical debts
  oAmong the half (51 percent) of Americans expecting a tax return, 45
    percent intend to pay off debt with the money.
  oSixty-five percent of Americans with credit card debt say their level of
    debt has increased or remained the same in the past year.
  oWhile a majority say their savings remains about the same (about 60
    percent) in the past year, just 15 percent of Americans say their
    short-term emergency savings has increased, and 14 percent say their
    long-term savings and investment activity has increased.

Priorities, priorities

Every day, Americans consciously decide to place a higher priority on
activities other than their finances, yet they recognize they need to do more
to improve their financial situations. On average, Americans say they spend
just under three hours per week paying bills and managing their household
finances. This is about a quarter of the time they say they spend watching
television (12 hours), and one-third of the time they spend surfing the
Internet (9.2 hours).

  oFifty-nine percent of Americans say they know what they're supposed to do
    and generally make the right decisions in regard to their personal
    finances, but 34 percent say they don't always do it, and 6 percent say
    they're unsure what to do.
  oWith most significant purchases, such as a car, television, vacation or
    banking and investing decisions they've recently made, the majority (74 to
    80 percent) of Americans say they spent the right amount of time
    considering their available purchase options.
  oNearly half (47 percent) of Americans say they're saving less than they
    should be.
  oForty percent admit they are not handling their personal finances in the
    way they're supposed to, or that may not even know what to do.
  oFortunately, an overwhelming majority of Americans (91 percent) believe
    personal financial management is a skill that someone can improve upon
    during their lifetime.

To motivate consumers to take action on their personal financial situation,
Allstate has developed online resources and a compelling, yet humorous video
series, produced by everyday people who responded to a crowdsourced call for
entries. The first video launched today, featuring "Hank," a baby who helps
put priorities into perspective. Two other videos from different perspectives
will follow in the coming weeks.

While an individual's recommended actions for tackling their financial fitness
challenges depend on his or her personal situation, three basics are relevant
to everyone:

  oDo your homework: You can find a wealth of valuable yet free information
    about managing your finances, such as personal finance websites, books,
    newspapers and seminars. Financial professionals can guide you through
    this information and help you set financial goals. For information about
    specific products, such as life insurance, you also can ask for a referral
    from professionals you currently deal with and trust – such as your
    auto/home insurance agent.
  oSet goals and a timetable to achieve them. But – rather than trying to
    make progress on all your goals at once – prioritize those goals every
    year and focus on the two or three that are most important to you.
  oMake a date once a year for an annual life insurance checkup to
    double-check that the amount and type of coverage is right for your
    current situation.

Survey Methodology

Reported results are from a nationally representative survey of 1,000 American
adults age 18+. The survey was conducted December 15-19, 2012 via landline and
cell phone. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.1% in 95 out of 100
cases. The survey was conducted by FTI Consulting, Inc

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held
personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through
its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and
Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products
(auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate
agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial
representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial
and 1-800 Allstate^®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good
Hands With Allstate^®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local
communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and
the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit
organizations and important causes across the United States.

Related Links
Allstate Newsroom
Allstate Financial



SOURCE Allstate

Website: http://www.allstate.com
Contact: Kari Mather, +1-847-402-5600, kari.mather@allstate.com
 
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