U.S. Households More Optimistic Than European Households
RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American consumers are more optimistic about their personal finances than their European counterparts based on results of the third annual Genworth Consumer Financial Vulnerability Index.
The Genworth Index is based on responses by consumers in 14 European countries -- and for the first time, the United States -- to a September 2009 omnibus survey by U.K.-based market research firm Ipsos MORI. The Index takes the ratio of the percentage of people who are financially secure relative to the percentage of those who consider themselves financially vulnerable. According to the Index, the U.S.' financial vulnerability score was 14 points better than the average score in the European countries surveyed. While the U.S. scored higher than Europe, the overall picture in the U.S. was still one of consumer vulnerability rather than security.
"While the economic environment has certainly heightened the sense of financial vulnerability among consumers, they can take proactive steps to address these challenges and plan for a secure financial future," says Gurinder Ahluwalia, president and chief executive officer, Genworth Financial Wealth Management, Inc. "Countless American families have seen the value of their homes dwindle and their investment portfolios have sustained big losses during the past year. In this environment, tapping into hard-earned nest eggs may no longer be a viable option. Long term care costs, to use just one example, continue to rise and put a strain on the aging Baby Boomer population. It's more important now than ever to develop a comprehensive financial plan."
The comparatively low consumer vulnerability score in the United States suggests that a smaller proportion of U.S. households believed themselves to be financially vulnerable (20 percent) and slightly more households felt financially secure (10 percent) compared with households in Europe (24 percent and seven percent respectively). Overall, some 31 percent of U.S. households expected the financial situation of their household to improve, compared with just 18 percent of their counterparts in Europe.
The 2009 Genworth Consumer Vulnerability Index surveyed consumers in Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Greece and Turkey. The Genworth Index is derived from responses to the following two key questions:
-- Thinking about the general financial position of your household, how
often do you experience financial difficulties?
-- Looking ahead over the next 12 months, do you think the financial
position of your household will improve, stay the same or get worse?
The Genworth Index average score of 28 across all 14 European markets in autumn 2009 shows that the balance remained tipped toward relative financial vulnerability. There has, however, been a promising, if small, decrease in relative financial vulnerability, having fallen 8 points on the Index from 35 points in autumn 2008 to 27 points in 2009 for the subset of 12 markets surveyed in both years. Nonetheless, the level of relative financial vulnerability in Europe was still far higher in 2009 compared with the baseline in summer 2007, when the Index score core stood at just seven points.
About Genworth Financial
Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 global financial security company. Genworth has more than $100 billion in assets and employs approximately 6,000 people with a presence in more than 25 countries. Its products and services help meet the investment, protection, retirement and lifestyle needs of more than 15 million customers. Genworth operates through three segments: Retirement & Protection, US Mortgage Insurance and International. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit Genworth.com. From time to time Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of Genworth.com.
SOURCE Genworth Financial, Inc.
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