Many experts say the economy is recovering. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sounds fairly optimistic. At the same time, though, the stock market remains volatile, rising or falling with each report of corporate earnings that are better-than-expected -- or worse. With the level of company profits unclear for the rest of the year, and business spending on new plant and equipment unlikely to take off before profits rise, the economy's health is still in the hands of consumers.
So, the time seems right to ask a pertinent question: How are you doing financially? Please remember that this isn't a scientific poll, since anyone who wishes to can participate. Nonetheless, we think your answers will provide insight into the strength -- and durability -- of the budding economic recovery.
How are you doing financially?
I'm in distress
I'm O.K., assuming no sudden reduction in income
I'm in good shape, with plenty of cushion for the near future
I'm not sure
Do you expect to receive a pay raise this year?
How do you feel about your job?
It isn't secure
I'm not sure how secure it is
Six months from now, where do you think the economy will be?
On the way to recovery
Worse than it is now
Are you more likely or less likely to buy stocks than you were at the start of the year?
About as likely