Americans Set Eyes on Savings After Rocky 2011 COUNTRY Financial survey shows high priority on savings as 1 in 3 have no financial reserves

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Jan. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are starting the new year with the goal of getting their savings into shape. According to a new COUNTRY Financial survey, this goal has its challenges as 68 percent say their incomes have not grown, while 71 percent report their expenses have.

When it comes to savings, nearly one in four (24 percent) were able to set aside enough money to go five or more months without a paycheck and still pay their bills. Even so, one in three say they could not go any amount of time without a paycheck before resorting to skipping bill payments.

As a result, many Americans may have focused their income on meeting more immediate expenses. Only five percent say the economic downturn caused their mortgage or rent payments to suffer. Just 14 percent report their ability to pay debts was affected.

A lack of reserves might be why nearly half of Americans are worried about meeting fiscal obligations this year.

  • Nearly one in three (30 percent) say their personal savings and investments have suffered the most due to the economic downturn.
  • Savings for retirement was the second most affected area (25 percent).

However, Americans are now focused on saving for the future. According to a December COUNTRY Financial survey, they identified personal and retirement savings as financial priorities to work on in 2012.

"Years of rising expenses and stagnant income understandably make it difficult to save and plan for the future," says Keith Brannan, vice president of financial security planning. "The good news is Americans are planning to address their long-term retirement goals and rebuild their savings."

For planning tips and ways to improve your budget, watch an exclusive video interview with Brannan at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com. For tips on easy ways to save, visit the COUNTRY blog at www.mynameiscountry.com.

Savings matters, no matter your age

Although Americans have different fiscal concerns for 2012, some are more optimistic than others.

  • Gen Y: Only 40 percent are worried about meeting financial obligations. Still, thirty-one percent of 18-29 year olds say their personal savings and investments were the hardest hit.
  • Gen X: Half (50 percent) of 30-39 year olds and 31 percent of 40-49 year olds say they could not go any amount of time between jobs and still pay their bills.
  • Baby Boomers: Thirty-seven percent of those nearing retirement age (50-64) say their retirement savings have suffered most.
  • Retirees: For those most likely in retirement (65 or older), 41 percent claim their personal savings and investments suffered most. However, they are the least worried about fulfilling their fiscal obligations (38 percent).

"Now is the time to buckle down and revisit your financial plan," adds Brannan. "If you don't have one, your New Year's resolution should be to create a tangible plan you can follow to navigate this economic environment."

The COUNTRY survey on savings is based on a national telephone survey of 3,000 Americans and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC (www.rasmussenreports.com), an independent research firm.

About COUNTRY

COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.

SOURCE COUNTRY Financial



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