Study: Financial Attitudes Improving

American workers, especially low-income wage earners, are more optimistic about their personal finances and taking proactive steps to improve their financial security, according to a new study published by Financial Finesse.

The study, which analyzed online responses from people who received financial wellness training, found that workers were significantly less worried about the U.S. economy and the stock market in 2014, with 36% expressing anxiety about national issues, down from 51% in 2011.

Financial Finesse said “we see hopeful signs that employees are becoming more proactive, especially those who are making regular use of the financial wellness program offered by their employer.” Among employees with household incomes of less than $35,000:

  • 51% feel like their financial situation is not under control, down from 57% in 2013
  • 12% say that their financial stress is overwhelming, down from 17% in 2013
  • 69% are paying their bills on time, up from 65% in 2013
  • 23% have an emergency fund, up from 20% in 2013

The study also found 24 percent of workers took hardship withdrawals from a retirement account in 2014, down from 30 percent in 2013.