Views based on new findings from Lincoln Financial Group’s 2016
M.O.O.D. of America Survey
RADNOR, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A panel of financial services industry and academic thought leaders,
participating in an event debuting findings from Lincoln Financial
Group’s (NYSE: LNC) most recent Measuring
Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America survey,
outlined actions designed to increase financial literacy, to help
Americans enhance retirement outcomes and to achieve financial
The event was hosted in New York City, on Thursday, Aug. 11, and was
streamed live over the internet. The panel of thought leaders included
Neale Godfrey, chairman and president of Children’s Financial Network
and author of numerous books explaining investing to children; Dr. Keith
Weigelt, professor of strategy at The Wharton School of the University
of Pennsylvania and founder of Building Bridges to Wealth; Jamie Ohl,
president of Retirement Plan Services for Lincoln Financial Group; and
Eric Reisenwitz, senior vice president and head of Group Benefits
Product and Operations for Lincoln Financial Group.
Overall, the group’s “call to action” centered on parents becoming more
educated about finances so they can effectively advise their children on
the right steps to take, personally and through the workplace, to ensure
they are able to maximize savings, experience financial security and
secure long-term retirement outcomes. In addition, the group highlighted
the benefits of working with financial advisors to develop a financial
program that meets specific needs.
An Optimistic Generation
This was the first time the M.O.O.D. survey looked at Generation Z, and
results showed that members of this generation (those born starting in
1995) are more optimistic about their financial futures than any other
generation, with 89 percent of them feeling optimistic compared to 83
percent of Millennials and Gen Xers, and 78 percent of Baby Boomers.
While optimistic, Gen Zers still have concerns. “The survey shows
Generation Z’s three top priorities — graduating from college, getting a
job and saving for their future are also their three biggest financial
concerns,” said Weigelt.
Those financial concerns surface because this is a generation that is
already starting to prepare for their financial futures — 60 percent
have a savings account and 7 percent are already investing in stocks.
Weigelt also pointed out that while it can be difficult to change
long-term financial behaviors, it isn’t impossible. The survey shows
that by age 13 Gen Zers are having conversations about retirement, and
that they are looking for guidance from their parents.
“The survey showed that 66 percent of Gen Zers go to their parents for
advice. That paints a picture … on how to reach this generation early,
to help change saving behaviors and increase financial literacy,” Ohl
said. “It starts with helping to educate their parents about retirement.”
Further underscoring the need for more education, Ohl pointed out that
Americans in the workplace are leaving about $24 billion on the table,
in terms of matching contributions that their employers would make if
they saved enough to get the full match.
“If they are asking for advice, we as parents have to educate ourselves
so we can become financially literate,” said Godfrey. “We know these
kids are attached to mobile devices and can teach them through those
devices,” she continued. “I think we have a tremendous opportunity to
really focus on multiple generations.”
Ohl added that when we think about retirement it’s the outcome that is
important. “The outcome is income,” she said.
Compound interest can also provide significant benefits to those who
invest. “It is very important for parents to get their children to
understand that the sooner they start investing money, the better off
they may be in the future.” The amount of financial resources they may
have to live on later may increase as a result, Weigelt said.
Moreover, Godfrey noted, only 17 states within the U.S. actually mandate
any teaching of financial literacy. “This is not okay, and we need to
come together as parents, grandparents, educators, businesses, and even
politicians, to make sure we build this up throughout the country.
Lincoln’s M.O.O.D. of America survey is a call to action.”
To watch the full segment on Gen Z, please click
Democrats and Republicans in Agreement on Retirement
This year’s survey also looked at results by political affiliation, and
showed that despite the political divide in the country, there is
agreement when it comes to retirement.
In fact, 92 percent of Democrats and Republicans polled “agree that they
do not want to have to work in retirement,” Ohl said. The survey also
showed 90 percent of both Democrats and Republicans say working with an
advisor makes them feel more confident in achieving their financial
“I think about relationships with advisors for financial health the same
way I think about a personal trainer for your physical health,” said
Ohl. “It’s all about staying on track and having someone there to help
you make adjustments when necessary.”
To watch the full segment on the alignment between Democrats and
Republicans regarding retirement, please click
The Right Track to Financial Wellness: Five Key Factors
This year, Lincoln’s study also included a
special report asking employed Americans about their general
financial mindsets, finding that 55 percent of American workers feel
they are on the “right track” to achieving financial well-being, while
the remaining 45 percent feel they are not currently headed in the right
The study dug deeper into the lives of the “right-trackers,” and
uncovered five key factors – behaviors and influencers in these
individuals’ lives – that contribute to their feelings of financial
security and to their overall financial success.
“The first two factors are fairly traditional,” said Reisenwitz. Number
one: right trackers are likely to have a financial plan in place. He
noted “About 70 percent of right-trackers have a financial plan that
they are following.” Second is that right-trackers are future-focused.
“Ninety-eight percent of right trackers have a forward-looking view and
are planning toward that vision,” he continued.
While planning and focus on the future are clearly important to
financial well-being, some other contributing factors uncovered by the
study are unrelated to money. The third factor is physical health.
“About 80 percent of those who feel financially-well exercise on a
regular basis, at least once a week,” Reisenwitz continued.
“The fourth factor has to do with emotional health. These right trackers
feel very comfortable with their personal lives and their relationships.
And importantly, they feel good about their relationships at work and
tend to be less stressed.”
The fifth factor Reisenwitz discussed is the use of employee benefits,
offered through the workplace. “Individuals who maximize their benefits
feel more financially secure,” he said, explaining that the more
benefits individuals are enrolled in at work, the better they tend to
feel about their financial situations.
To watch the full segment on the Right Track to Financial Wellness,
In addition, the study included findings specific to the LGBT community,
looking at the impact on employee benefits one-year after the historic
marriage equality ruling (Obergefell v. Hodges), which occurred on June
26 of 2015. To hear more about these findings, please click
here to watch the full segment.
To access supplemental materials regarding each segment of this press
conference, please click
About the M.O.O.D. of America Survey
Results for the 2016 M.O.O.D. (Measuring Optimism, Outlook and
Direction) of America poll are based on three national surveys conducted
by Whitman Insight Strategies on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group in
March and April 2016.
The M.O.O.D. of America survey was conducted among 2,267 adults 18
years of age and older across the United States, and included a sample
of the General Population as well as over-samples to ensure data cuts
by key demographic sub-groups that are of particular interest for this
research. The final sample includes 405 African Americans, 402 Asian
Americans, 402 Latino Americans, and 418 LGBT Americans. The margin of
error is ±1.9% at the 95% confidence interval.
M.O.O.D. of Gen Z survey was conducted among 400 members of
Generation Z (ages 15-19) across the United States. The margin of
error is ±4.8% at the 95% confidence interval.
Special Report: M.O.O.D. of America on Employee Benefits was
conducted among 1,154 employed adults ages 22–69. The margin of error
is +/- 2.80% at the 95% confidence interval.
All three samples were weighted to reflect the proportion of these
audiences by gender, age, region, race and ethnicity based on data from
the U.S. Census Bureau.
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help empower
Americans to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and
optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement,
insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their
lifestyle, savings and income goals, as well as to guard against
long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln
Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation
(NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $223 billion in assets
under management as of June 30, 2016. Learn more at: www.LincolnFinancial.com.
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