PEW conducted a nationally representative survey of more than 7,000 American households, as well as led focus groups in three cities (Boston, Phoenix, and Orlando). The goal was to collect data on family balance sheets, Americans’ perceptions of their financial security, and how their views differ according to income, wealth, and other demographic factors. These data show that Americans are conflicted about their financial well-being. They are more optimistic about their own finances and the economy than they have been in years; 56 percent rate
their financial situations favorably. But in an apparent contradiction, the same proportion (57 percent) said they are unprepared for a financial emergency, and only half reported feeling financially secure.