Will You Be Better Off Next Year? New Poll Says Most Don't Think So

Couple BillsWhen it comes to the the state of their family finances, Americans seem to be moving toward the "acceptance" stage. Some of us think our own household scenarios will get better in the coming year, some of us dread things getting worse, but mostly, we expect more of the same. Managing expectations is a useful life skill, and it appears to play a role in how well we weather economic downturns.

Specifically, a new Marist Poll indicates 52% of Americans think their personal financial situation will stay they same in the coming year with 28% expecting to do better and 20% fearing they'll do worse. We're starting to get used to this recession/weak recovery thing. "Through all the ups and downs of the economy, Americans' expectations abut their personal finances have remained essentially unchanged," says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

I spoke with Mary E. Azzoli, media director for Marist, and she described the overall sentiment as "cautiously optimistic." It may actually be strikingly optimistic if you consider the finding that 75% of people believe we are currently in a recession, 20% think we're not and 5% say they don't know.

Overall, the vast majority of us think we're in a recession, but also believe growth in our own household will remain flat. The "above average effect" remains the American way.

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