A survey conducted by MetLife and Harris Interactive found 20% of respondents had increased retirement savings and 20% reported they are more disciplined and conservative with their retirement investments.
Also, 50% of Americans say they have lost faith in traditional retirement safety nets — defined benefit pensions, Social Security and Medicare — and 54% have lost trust in financial institutions in general.
“Americans are entering a new period of preparedness,” Robert E. Sollmann, senior vice president, Retirement Products for MetLife, said in a statement. “Just like patients who survive a near-fatal illness, today’s consumers are opting for a strong dose of preventive medicine. Despite rising equity prices, they are ushering in a new era of fiscal responsibility by building up rainy day funds, reducing debt and opting for guaranteed and/or very low-risk investments.”
Harris surveyed 2,191 U.S. adults age 18 and older. The online survey was conducted Sept. 23-25.
• 60% of Americans who have taken action over the past year have managed to pay down credit card or other debt, and 35% have made regular 401(k) contributions, with 13% increasing contributions.
• Americans who plan to reduce spending on non-essential purchases — 65%
• Americans who plan to build a cash cushion — 57%
• Americans who plan to allocate a portion of investments to guaranteed income or very low-risk products — 17%
• Of those surveyed, 55% believe the events of the past year will have a lasting impact of 10 years or more on their spending and investment decisions, and a quarter believe that influence will be permanent.
• Of those Americans with regrets about their financial behavior, 62% regret not building up a cash cushion, and 45% regret amassing too much credit card or other debt – this is felt most acutely among Generation X (54%).
• One-third of Americans fear that the economy will take five years or more to recover, and 31% of those affected by the financial crisis believe that their own personal recovery will take at least 5 years – with 15% believing their personal recovery will take 10 years or more, and 8% believing they will never recover from the financial downturn.