Americans Express Overwhelming Confidence in Their Own Financial
Decision-Making Ability but Remain Concerned About the Economy
19th Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Reveals Americans
Believe the Great Recession Continues, Strong Majority Feel Negative Effects
of Recent Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013
WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Most Americans feel well-equipped to
make important financial decisions, but significant numbers worry they are
making less progress than they should toward reaching financial goals,
according to poll results announced today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:
ALL) and National Journal. In the wake of challenging financial times, new
data from the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll
reveals that five years after the economic crash, most Americans believe the
country remains in the grips of a recession and express limited confidence in
most major institutions, with many people skeptical about investing in the
stock market. Instead of what are perceived as riskier investment strategies,
Americans are relying more on their own understanding of financial planning,
paying off debt, putting away savings, and seeking out friends or family for
Americans of all political stripes believe the recent federal government
shutdown and national debt have negatively impacted them on a personal level.
Three in four (73 percent) say the debt and deficit have directly affected
their personal financial situation, a sentiment shared across party lines.
Among those feeling personally affected, a third (33 percent) believe the main
result will be to raise their taxes, and a quarter (26 percent) feel it will
mean fewer opportunities for them to get jobs and increases in pay.
Though most Americans (58 percent) believe participating in the financial
system is the safest and most reliable way to provide a secure financial
future for their families,a substantial percentage (35 percent) worry the
system is too volatile, complicated, and unreliable to provide a secure
future. Americans believe the economy is struggling, with more than half (53
percent) saying the U.S. remains in the grips of a recession, and few
believing economic improvements are on the horizon.
Yet Americans' confidence in their own abilities remains unwavering, supported
by the strong belief that they are well-prepared to make important financial
decisions in the wake of the Great Recession. Nearly nine in 10 (89 percent)
say they're confident they understand information about important financial
decisions writ large, and they're also highly confident they have the
information needed to buy a home (77 percent), plan their retirement (75
percent), and set up an inheritance (64 percent).
"Despite the headwinds we continue to face, the resilience of the American
people is alive and well," said Sanjay Gupta, executive vice president of
marketing, innovation and corporate relations for Allstate. "It is this
American trait and tradition of individual responsibility—more specifically,
the ability to control one's financial decisions and destiny—that makes this
country unique and continues to be the foundation of our culture, political,
and financial system."
"With the stock market soaring, home prices recovering, and borrowing costs
low, this survey suggests that Americans with means and credentials once again
see the financial system as a reliable channel toward achieving their goals,"
writes Ronald Brownstein,editorial director for National Journal and Atlantic
Media. "But for many Americans struggling to stay afloat after a decade of
stagnant incomes, the financial system still looms like a cloud on the
horizon—opaque, unpredictable, and vaguely menacing. This poll suggests that a
clear challenge remains to create a financial system that all Americans
believe can help them achieve their aspirations."
Watch a live briefing on key findings from the latest Heartland Monitor Poll
today at 8:30 a.m. ET, at http://www.nationaljournal.com/events, featuring
Sheila Bair, former chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance
In evaluating their current situation, many Americans say they are falling
behind on key financial milestones, including saving for retirement (44
percent), contributing to a 401k or IRA (42 percent), maintaining an emergency
savings fund (47 percent), estate planning (54 percent) and investing in the
stock market (50 percent). However, when it comes to paying off debt,
Americans mostly believe they are either on track (54 percent) or ahead (21
percent);65 percent of respondents also say they're on track with sticking to
a monthly budget.
Americans are most likely to turn to friends or family members for information
on managing their personal finances. Nearly half (47 percent) say they seek
this "informal" advice while just one in three (33 percent) turn to a
professional financial adviser, one in four (24 percent) seek advice from a
banker at a branch location, and about one in six (17 percent) turn to a
The Obama presidency has hit a low-water mark in the Heartland Monitor Poll
series. Just 23 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the
right direction and pessimism stretches across all socioeconomic
groups.President Obama's job approval has slipped to 38 percent, a new low
for his presidency in this poll. His approval rating is now just 29 percent
among independents, 29 percent among whites, and just 52 percent among
Hispanics.Democrats (76 percent) and African-Americans (76 percent) remain
supportive, though at reduced levels. Additionally, just 9 percent of
Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, a 12-point drop from one year
ago (21 percent).
Economic and personal financial indicators are also at or near their low
point.Just 11 percent think the economy is in "excellent" or "good" shape,
while 45 percent think it's in "fair" shape and 44 percent think it is in
"poor" shape.More Americans (36 percent) believe the economy will get worse
over the next 12 months than those who believe it will improve (29
percent).Still, more Americans think their own situation will improve over
the next year (39 percent) than believe it will become worse (15 percent).
This holds true among all socioeconomic situations, demonstrating some
continued optimism among the American public in the face of an uncertain
economy and mixed economic experiences.
Key findings from the 19th Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll
are also availablevia PDF. Additional information on the entire polling
series can be found at: http://www.theheartlandvoice.com/category/insights.
Since April 2009, the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor
Polls have explored Americans' personal financial experiences, their views on
the financial system, and their opinion of how the federal government's budget
situation impacts their personal finances. The most recent Allstate/National
Journal Heartland Monitor poll was conducted by FTI Consulting, from Nov. 2-6,
2013, among N=1,000 American adults age 18+ reached via landline and cell
phone. The margin of error for the N=1,000 telephone sample is plus or minus
3.1 percentage points.
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.
About National Journal
National Journal is Washington's premier source for 360-degree insight on
politics and policy. With up-to-the-minute breaking news and analysis at
NationalJournal.com, the essential intelligence of National Journal Daily, the
knowledge and depth of National Journal magazine, and the comprehensive
campaign coverage of National Journal Hotline, National Journal delivers
everything you need to know to stay ahead of the curve in Washington.
About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping
organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex
legal, regulatory and economic environment. With over 3,900 employees located
in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to
anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such
as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues,
reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The Company
generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. More information
can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.
SOURCE The Allstate Corporation
Contact: Emma Angerer, National Journal, 202-266-7405,
email@example.com; or Matthew Clark, FTI Consulting, 202-728-8766,
firstname.lastname@example.org; or Kate Hollcraft, Allstate Insurance
Company, 847-402-5600, Kate.email@example.com; or Natalie Raabe, The
Atlantic, 202-266-7533, firstname.lastname@example.org
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