More Americans are pessimistic about money, and they blame Washington

The partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22. The political impasse has left 800,000 federal workers without pay. It now holds the record for the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Of those who think their finances will be worse, most blame political leaders, as indicated by 49 percent of respondents, followed by cost-of-living increases, more debt, less income from savings or investments, rising interest rates and less income at work.

The pessimistic sentiment could be a hangover from the financial crisis 10 years ago, according to Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com.

“One of the long-running themes of the U.S. economy [has been] income inequality, as well as the damage that was done by the financial crisis and Great Recession,” Hamrick said. “Some of those undercurrents continue to shape what we’re experiencing today.”

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Those who are optimistic about 2019 mostly did not credit Washington politicians, according to the survey. Instead, they cited other reasons, such as making more money, with 52 percent, followed by having less debt, and earning more from savings and investments.

Regardless of whether they are optimistic or pessimistic, most Americans, 89 percent, plan to make at least one financial goal a priority this year.

Paying down debt was the top resolution overall. Gen X and baby boomers plan to make increasing their retirement savings a priority. Millennials, meanwhile, have their sights set on getting higher-paying jobs.

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