More Americans are aware of how to improve their finances

Hands holding a stack of cash

For those hoping to improve their financial well-being, a few simple steps can be taken to turn the fiscal tide. A recent survey revealed Americans with specific goals for saving often fare better than those without a savings objective.

Endorsed by the Consumer Federation of America, the 8th annual America Saves Week survey revealed 57 percent of Americans with a savings goal make "good or excellent" progress when it comes to adding funds to their bank account or investments. On the other hand, Americans without a savings plan are much less likely to make such progress, as only 22 percent stated they hold that same positive view.

Those with a specific savings plan in place also manage to spend less of their income on a regular basis. Nine of 10 respondents with a savings plan spend less than their income, allowing them to save the difference. Meanwhile, only 50 percent of respondents who don't have a savings plan spend less than their income.

"Americans are saving a little more effectively today than a year ago, but only a minority are doing so very successfully," Stephen Brobeck, founder of America Saves and executive director with the Consumer Federation of America, said in a release.

Brobeck said the nation is slowly climbing out from the shadow of the Great Recession, which is why a savings strategy can be so vital to the fiscal standing of many American families.

The survey also stated consumers with a savings plan tend to feel more prepared for retirement and have more stowed away in an emergency fund in case of any unforeseen misfortunes.

A growing number of Americans also knew their net worth, which is a solid indicator that a strong financial standing is important across the country. Forty-three percent of respondents said they knew their net worth, up from 40 percent last year.

Young adults are making investments and saving better than before
Bloomberg was quick to point out the survey showed millennials made headway when it comes to saving.

The percentage of young adults able to save at least 5 percent of their income increased to 56 percent, a 6 percent jump from the year prior. Only one demographic, 45- to 54-year-olds, had a bigger savings surge. That group went from 45 percent to 53 percent on a year-over-year basis.

"Younger people are now starting to become more hopeful, thinking that the future may be better than the present," Brobeck told Bloomberg.

Watching what they spend
Young adults were also more likely to watch what they spend their income on. The demographic notched a spending plan improvement of 5 percent, going from 34 to 39 percent.

But the accountability didn't end there. In the past year, more millennials concentrated on improving their emergency funds. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they had enough funds to cover an unexpected event such as a car repair or visit to the emergency room, which is up from 53 percent last year.

"The first step toward financial action is setting a goal ..." Nancy Register, director of America Saves, said in a release. "The second step toward financial action, making a plan, is key to successful saving, as the results of our annual saving survey demonstrate."

For those young adults hoping to get in on the savings trend, Daily Finance urged millennials to address their bad debt first. While mortgage loans and certain student loans come with low interest fees that can be paid off over a long period of time, a consumer dealing with a high-interest credit card or an especially expensive student loan should try take care of those bills as soon as possible.

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