Study: Americans still carry concerns over finances

The tide seems to be turning for many Americans, most of whom are reporting higher levels of optimism and confidence about their present circumstances and their future prospects. More people are reporting taking small steps to get more in-tuned with themselves, live healthier lifestyle and build rich and meaningful relationships. While individuals are encouraged by their social, mental and health circumstances, a large percentage say that they are still concerned and dismayed by their financial situation, new research shows.

According to a report from the Lincoln Financial Group, Americans list being “financially independent” as one of the Top 10 values they hold most dear. However, 39 percent of respondents cited personal debt, including credit card balances, mortgages and student loans, as one of the top financial concerns that keeps them up at night. Another 32 percent listed retirement planning as their main cause for concern, and 31 percent cited tax burdens as their primary stressor.

When it comes to retirement planning, only 18 percent of respondents nearing their post-working years said they felt “very prepared” for the financial transition, and this number fell to 11 percent when the question was posed to those between ages 45 and 54 years old.

“Overall optimism aside, the fact that such a large percentage of Americans closest to retirement say they feel ill-prepared is alarming,” said Dennis Glass , president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group.” It is important now, more than ever, that people be empowered to take charge by viewing financial concerns through a lens of opportunity, not through one of insurmountable challenge.”

Improving your financial picture

Financial stress can take a tremendous toll on a person’s mental, emotional and physical state, and make it more challenging to make informed and confident financial decisions. One of the most effective actions an individual can take is allowing a credit counselor or financial advisor to assess their situation and provide guidance on how to improve the weak areas of their finances.

Professionals are uniquely equipped to analyze separate aspects of a person’s money situation and make suggestions on how to improve their financial picture as a whole. In addition, they can provide consumers with the resources they need to make long-term changes that will continue to have large pay-offs for years down the road.

These resources include budgeting, debt repayment strategies, retirement planning and getting finances ready for a big life event.