Americans More Pessimistic on Financial Futures

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More Americans are expecting to be worse off financially a year from now, bringing them back to January 2012 levels after a spike of confidence just before and during the presidential campaigns.

More Americans are expecting to be worse off financially a year from now, according to a new poll from Gallup.

Last October just 11% said they expected to be worse of financially in a year, but now that number has increased to 29%. However, optimism still surpasses pessimism as 57% are expecting to be better off.


“Americans are typically optimistic on this measure — they have been more likely to expect their personal financial situation to get better than to get worse each time Gallup has asked the question,” according to the report.

Americans are as likely to say their financial situation is better than a year ago as they are to say they are doing worse (40% and 39%, respectively).

When the responses are broken down by income, there are real differences showing. Low-income Americans are more positive about what their financial situation will be like in a year while high-income Americans are more positive about their current financial situation.

Of those making less than $30,000, 32% say they are better off than a year ago while 47% say they are worse off. Nearly two-thirds (62%) expect to be better off a year from now, though. Since Democrats, on average, have lower incomes than Republicans, they also reported having more confident outlooks over the next year. However, since the Democrats occupy the White House, they also reported being more positive about their current financial situations compared to a year ago.

“[The] increase in Americans' financial pessimism is contrary to their improving economic confidence and standard-of-living perceptions — which have generally been higher this year than in the previous five years,” according to Gallup. “While the economy has improved in some respects, Americans may still be skeptical that indicators such as economic confidence and record-high stock values will translate into long-term economic growth.”