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The State of The Union, Personal Finance Edition

When President Obama addresses Congress tonight he will say, as all Presidents do, "The state of the union is strong." Looking at your own finances, your may beg to differ. While economists and other pundits give Obama a gentleman's B for his handling of the economy, most Americans still feel nervous and unhappy about their financial picture. Strong holiday sales and a bull market have pushed a measure of confidence into the picture, but wide majorities remain skittish about the economy and downright depressed about home values and job prospects.

Some of this is justified-particularly if you live near the financial edge with debts and health care costs. Apart from that, though, much of the lack of confidence looks like the financial version of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Yes, Obama will have to sound grave tonight about the deficit and the wars. But for the rest of us, the best Presidential message might be "Snap out of it!" Herewith, a state of of the union for your personal finances, by the numbers:

It has been a rough few years


Percent of Americans who say they or their spouse lost a job in the recession


Percent who say their personal finances won't recover until after the end of this year


Percent who say their personal finances won't ever fully recover


U.S. ranking in consumer confidence of 53 nations worldwide

1, 9

Ranking of India and China, respectively

And yet, the recovery is in place


Estimated GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2010


Increase in stock market since March 2009


Employers who plan to hire in 2011

Some are starting to warm to the idea


Americans who think the worst of the recession is behind us (Marist poll, January 19, 2011)


Americans who last month thought the worst was yet to come (Marist poll, December 2010)


Consumers who plan to spend more this year than last


Percent of disposable income Americans save, down from 7.6% in 2009


Increase in sales of Porsches, 2010 vs. 2009

Americans are antsy and unhappy about their careers-more than their bosses think


Percent who say they are extremely satisfied with their job


Percent that managers believe are extremely satisfied


Percent who believe this is a hard time to get a good job


Respondents who say they plan to intensify a job search in the next three months anyway


Managers who dont' believe their employees will initiate a job search in the next three months

While the bull market has brought some small investors back, many don't trust it


Percent of American Association of Individual Investors members who are bullish


Investors who say they have shifted toward more conservative or stable investments in the past year


Percent of Americans who think the stock market is fair for small investors,


Percent who think the market is fair for investment banks, hedge funds and professional traders.


Americans who say they are not confident that they can afford a comfortable retirement


Americans who are not confident they'll have enough money to pay for health care in retirement


Americans who say they expect to retire at age 70 or later


Americans who said that in 1991


Workers who say they expect to work for pay in retirement


Retirees who say they have ever worked for pay since retiring

Housing remains a gloomy corner of many family's financial picture


Share of homes nationwide worth less than the mortgage


Percent of homes in Nevada worth less than the mortgage


Share of homeowners who would move if they could sell their home for what they paid


Share of homeowners who expect their home to fall in value in 2011


Percent of homeowners with a mortgage who say they would consider walking away from the mortgage

And yet, hope springs eternal in housing


Americans who say a home is still the best investment most families can make


Share of potential homebuyers who plan to purchase a home in the near future as an investment


Share who said that in March 2009

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