CFP Board Survey: Consumers More Confident About Their Own Finances, Not Expecting Rebound in U.S. Economy

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CFP Board Survey: Consumers More Confident About Their Own Finances, Not Expecting Rebound in U.S. Economy

Jun 16, 2011

National survey on consumer confidence and personal finances finds that Americans with a financial plan are more upbeat on their personal economic outlook

Washington, DC, June 16, 2011 – Even with a turbulent economy, Americans are more optimistic about their personal financial futures than that of the overall economy, and those who have planned have a more upbeat outlook, according to a new survey released today by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

“While our country continues to grapple with sustained unemployment and other economic headwinds, Americans have a more positive outlook on their own personal finances. And those people who have a financial plan believe that their own financial situation will improve over the next year and are willing to contribute to the economy by spending more,” said Charles A. Moran, CFP®, Chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors.

Of the 1,011 adults participating in the telephone survey, findings showed:

  • The majority of Americans (59 percent) are not confident that the overall economy will rebound within the next year.
  • The majority of respondents have experienced negative fallout from the recession with 53 percent having delayed making a big purchase and 45 percent dipping into their savings.
  • Despite the weak confidence in the economy as a whole, Americans have a slightly more encouraging attitude with regard to their own finances, with 83 percent saying their personal financial situation would remain the same or improve during the upcoming year.
  • Planning ahead for financial goals makes a significant impact on people’s outlook – with 58 percent of Americans indicating that they would feel more confident about their finances if they had a financial plan in place.
  • More than four in five (86 percent) respondents agree with the statement, “Everyone should have a financial plan. Even if you have very little money it is good to know in advance how you will spend it and the best means of growing what you have.”
  • Nearly four out of five people (79 percent) claim to have a financial plan; however, the majority do not have an official, written document as almost half (46 percent) said they just have a plan in their head, and 11 percent only have notes or ideas written down. 42 percent of respondents said they had an official written plan.
  • Trust in financial planners is shaken due to the recent financial crisis. However, if given one hour with a financial planner, people would take advantage of it – focusing on retirement and budget planning. 36 percent of Americans reported working with a financial planner or advisor.
  • Moran noted that these findings suggest there is “a gap between how Americans view financial plans and knowing the best way to build and maintain one. They clearly understand the importance of a financial plan, but too many Americans are not taking the necessary steps to formalize it in a concrete, comprehensive way.”

    Eleanor Blayney, CFP®- CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate added that, “Creating and following through with a financial plan can be overwhelming for many people. Today’s survey shows the importance of our efforts to educate consumers about the value of financial planning. There are many different sources of advice, and consumers need to be aware of the breadth of options to identify the resource that best suits their individual needs. For many, turning to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help them develop an actionable strategy for meeting their financial goals.”


    KRC Research conducted 1,011 telephone interviews among a representative sample of Americans 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the entire sample is plus or minus 3.1 percent. The survey was fielded nationally June 2-6, 2011.

    Results of the entire survey can be found by clicking here and at

    ABOUT CFP BOARD: The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board's mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® certificants and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes more than 62,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States.

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    Dan Drummond, Director of Public Relations
    P: 202-379-2252
    M: 202-550-4372
    Twitter: @CFPBoardmedia

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Among clients who work with an advisor, 87% of those working with a CFP® professional are satisfied or very satisfied, compared with 72% of those who work with an advisor without certification.
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The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey shows that those with a financial plan feel more confident and report more success managing money, savings and investments than those without a plan.
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