Most American households are confident that their post-crash austerity is paying off, according to a survey by the public relations firm Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.
About 81% of Americans said they're now more responsible with their household finances than they were two years ago and seven out of 10 people are optimistic about their financial situation over the next two years. The results were released Monday.
"With all the gloom and doom in the polls, and going into an election, I expected to find that people would be a lot more discouraged," Barbara Iverson, the president of Weber Shandwick's financial services industry practice, said in an interview. "Instead, 70% of people feel that things are looking up."
However, while most people are generally pretty confident things will work out, only 31% actually feel in control over their household's finances. Fewer still have reached out to financial professionals to help them manage their money — only 19% said they're leaning more than usual on their financial advisers and just 17% have turned to their banks for help.
There is similar apathy on the savings front. In terms of assets, 78% of people are becoming more concerned about saving money, although only 42% of people are actually tucking money away. (Still, that's up from only one-third two years ago.)
This relatively confident, neo-austere public sentiment is actually a huge opportunity for banks and other financial services firms, Iverson said, but don't lead with a product.
The best approach is to provide them a forum, either in a physical location or through social media, "to allow them to ask questions and then to give them good answers," she said.
"Improving communication [with clients and prospects] is extraordinarily important right now."