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2015 Money Mindset Report

Findings

2015 Money Mindset Report

Thrivent Financial's inaugural Money Mindset Report aims to learn more about Americans' relationship with money and how they make decisions when it comes to their personal finances, giving back and faith's role in finances.

The results reveal that while the majority of Americans struggle with personal finances, most consider themselves more generous than the average American. And they would even prefer to be seen as generous as opposed to financially successful.

The report also reveals that Americans are increasingly turning to their faith communities for financial guidance, especially today's millennials.

The 2015 Money Mindset Report is broken into two categories. The general population breakdown analyzes the habits of 1,001 U.S. adults ages 18+. The Christian breakdown presents results from 1,000 self-identified U.S. Christian adults ages 18+. Below are the top findings for both categories.

Key Findings – General Population

Full General Population Report PDF

Wise With Money

Key findings from the report indicate that while financial security is a common concern for Americans, respondents lack confidence in managing their finances and are ill-prepared for the future.

  • Only 27 percent of Americans are very confident they are making the right decisions with their money. The same percent (27 percent) admit they currently live above their financial means.
  • It's no secret that many Americans struggle to keep up with their daily expenses – but some are closer to the edge than others. Sixteen percent of Americans struggle to keep up with day-to-day expenses. Meanwhile, 32 percent are fairly stable, but just making ends meet. Only 10 percent feel they have more than they need.
  • Many Americans struggle with their finances in the following ways: 32 percent don't have an emergency fund, 25 percent don't have a long-term financial strategy and 21 percent don't have a short-term strategy. In fact, 79 percent of Americans don't have a financial advisor.
  • Most Americans aren't protecting their finances for the future. More than half of Americans (53%) don't have life insurance, 62 percent don't have a retirement fund and 89 percent don't have disability income insurance.

Generosity

Although the findings reveal Americans are struggling with money, they still see themselves as generous and prioritize giving back.

  • Americans consider themselves to be very generous. Indeed, 71 percent – including 79 percent of millennials – think they're more generous than the average American.
  • Most consider "generous" to be a pretty high compliment: 61 percent would rather others call them generous than financially successful.
  • More than 1 in 3 (35 percent) Americans think the purpose of the money they make is to give back – whether during their lifetime or after.
  • While not all Americans volunteer, they do recognize its importance: 59 percent think donating time makes a bigger impact than donating money.

Faith and Finances

Those who turn to their faith communities for financial guidance prove to be more equipped for the years ahead, especially millennials, who refer most to their faith in times of need.

  • People who are having financial troubles want to turn to someone they trust. Perhaps that's why nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) Americans, including 38 percent of millennials, have turned to a faith community, religious leader or faith-based financial education provider for financial advice.
  • Those who have turned to their faith communities for financial guidance feel slightly more prepared for their future. Twenty-eight percent have a long-term financial strategy, compared to just 19 percent of those who have not turned to a faith community.

Key Findings – Christian Population

Full Christian Report PDF

Wise With Money

According to the report, a majority of Christians face financial uncertainties; however, they are more prepared for the future when seeking advice from faith leaders and their community.

  • Only 27 percent of Christians are very confident they are making the right decisions with their money.
  • Christian millennials are turning to their faith communities. In fact, 45 percent of millennials have turned to a faith community, religious leader or faith-based financial education provider for financial advice.
  • Those who have turned to their faith communities for financial guidance are slightly more prepared for their future. Thirty-six percent have a long-term financial strategy, compared to just 21 percent of those who have not turned to a faith community.
  • Many Christians struggle with their finances in the follow ways: 28 percent don't have a long-term financial strategy and 22 percent don't have a short-term strategy. In fact, 77 percent don't have a financial advisor.
  • Many Christians aren't protecting their finances for the future. Nearly half of Christians (46 percent) don't have life insurance, 58 percent don't have a retirement fund and 88 percent don't have disability income insurance.
  • Fifteen percent of Christians struggle to keep up with day-to-day expenses. Meanwhile, 30 percent are fairly stable, but just making ends meet. Only 8 percent feel they have more than they need.

Generosity

Findings also show that even during times of financial uncertainty, Christians prioritize giving back.

  • Generosity is a trait that's important to Christians. 69 percent would rather others call them generous than financially successful. This is compared to 61 percent of the general population who feel the same way.
  • More than 1 in 3 (37 percent) of Christians believe the purpose of the money they make is to give back to others. For many, the desire to give more is a financial motivator. Thirty-five percent think their motivation to become financially secure is so that they can give more money rather than have more money.
  • Forty-two percent of Christians think their top obstacle to giving is that they can't afford to give, and 62 percent of Christians feel they'd need to make $5,000 or more a year than they already make in order to donate more.
  • Eighty-eight percent of Christians say they would give more to nonprofit organizations if they made more money; however, many Christians know it doesn't take just money to give back. Sixty-nine percent regularly volunteer for a nonprofit organization (churches as well as organizations that help those in poverty are where the biggest percentage of Christians volunteer) and 57 percent think donating time makes a bigger impact than donating money.