Optimism may be harder to come by these days. More than half of Americans surveyed in a Harris poll released Tuesday identified themselves as being lower-middle class or working class with low economic security. And 75 percent said they're being held back financially by roadblocks like the cost of housing (24 percent), health care (21 percent) and credit-card debt (20 percent).
And that's not the kicker. "The most disappointing aspect is that 45 percent think they'll never get their finances back to where they were before the financial crisis," said Ken Rees, CEO of the Elevate credit service company, which commissioned the survey. "And a third are losing sleep over it." Forty-four percent of respondents to the Elevate survey reported having less than $2,000 in savings and 21 percent had none at all. Worse, 71 percent said they they were also carrying debt: 53 percent said the total was $10,000 or more and 32 percent had more than $20,000. The Harris survey was conducted online from Sept. 8-10, 2014 among 2,022 adults on behalf of Elevate, a for-profit company that spun off from ThinkFinance.
-- Amy Langfield, CNBC