Citi research now shows while 74% of Americans consider themselves financially stable, more than 48% do not have the savings they say they need to achieve actual stability. Meanwhile, 51% say that number is less than $100,000 and 22% believe it to be less than $10,000. Americans understand the importance of savings – 76 percent say it is very or extremely important – but nearly two-thirds have no savings goals and 25 percent say they expect to save $0 in 2012. Moreover, 51% do not save as much as they should, while 33% save as much as they think they should. Just 25% earning under $50,000 say they are saving as much as they think they should.
The survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates, also found that 58 percent of consumers believe local business conditions in their area will improve over the next 12 months, an 11-point increase from November 2011. And 65 percent are optimistic that their own financial situation will improve over the next 12 months, a three-point uptick. Both increases mirror a similar surge of optimism in the first quarter of 2011 that was then followed by a steady decline. This might provide some basis to the old adage; the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.