Americans More Secure in Near-Term Economic Outlook, Fed Says

Americans are growing more positive about their families’ current financial footing and earnings outlook, a Federal Reserve study shows.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said their families are “doing okay” or “living comfortably,” up 3 percentage points from 2013, according to the Fed Board survey released Wednesday in Washington. What’s more, 29 percent expected their income to be higher in the year following the survey, compared with 21 percent a year earlier.

“Individuals’ overall perceptions of financial well-being improved modestly between 2013 and 2014 but their optimism about future financial prospects increased significantly,” according to the report. “Looking forward, households are increasingly optimistic.”

Even so, the study also reveals a lack of economic preparedness. Just 53 percent of respondents said they could cover an emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing, and 31 percent of non-retirees had no retirement savings or pension. That includes almost a quarter of respondents older than 45.

What’s more, 38 percent of non-retirees said they don’t plan to retire or plan to keep working as long as possible, a share that jumps to 55 percent for households earning less than $40,000 a year.

The survey was conducted in October and November 2014, and more than 5,800 people responded.

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