Americans have a more positive outlook about their money than they did three years ago, according to a recent AICPA survey. Fewer people are feeling hindered by their finances. Just over one-third of adults postponed a major life decision due to financial concerns this year, compared to just over half of adults in 2015.
The most dramatic change was in the pursuit of college education. In 2015, 24% of respondents shelved their higher education goals for financial reasons; this year, only 13% held off on their educational plans. The percentage of those who delayed purchasing a home was 14% compared to 22% in 2015; 12% put off medical procedures compared to 19% in 2015; 10% postponed retirement compared to 18% in 2015.
Although financial confidence is growing, many Americans are still hesitant to make major moves because of their financial situation. About 60% of respondents stated that their biggest obstacle was having no savings. Half of the participants are worried about the economy. Further, 29% are having difficulty meeting monthly obligations, and 27% are stressed over consumer debt.
Over half of young adults lament that their debt load is keeping them from pursuing more fulfilling opportunities, according to a Clif Bar study. A recent Charles Schwab study found that three out of five Americans are surviving paycheck to paycheck. Only 25% of respondents had prepared a written financial plan. Out of these planners, 62% consider themselves to be financially stable, compared to 32% of those who had not prepared a plan.