The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday, individuals' optimism regarding future financial prospects increased substantially from 2013 to 2014. Meanwhile, perceptions of current financial well-being improved very little. The Fed's 2014 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking was completed by about 5,800 individuals last fall to provide insight into various aspects of Americans' personal finances such as economic security, banking, credit access and usage, housing, household debt, savings, and preparedness for retirement.
The Fed found that 65 percent of adult respondents said they were either "doing okay" or "living comfortably" as far as their personal finance situation. The amount of respondents that said they expect their income to be higher in the next year increased by 8 percent from 2013 to 29 percent in the 2014 survey. Just more than half of survey respondents, 53 percent, said they would be able to cover an emergency expense costing $400 without borrowing money or selling something. Nearly one-third of respondents said they have done without some type of medical care they needed in the last year because they could not afford it.
An Experian Consumer Services survey discovered that 95 percent of homebuyers are aware that credit scores play a significant role when purchasing a home, and those who know their credit scores feel more prepared to buy. In addition, 45 percent of future homebuyers say they put off buying a home in order to work on their credit so that they can qualify for better interest rates. Experian reported that 70 percent of people who know their credit scores feel significantly more prepared to buy a home, versus the 54 percent of those who do not know their credit scores.