(BPT) - What do you do to give back? Do you volunteer your time, your skills or your knowledge? Do you pride yourself on being a generous person?
Generosity has always been seen as a positive virtue, and new research from Thrivent Financial shows Americans are placing more emphasis on being generous than ever before. Sixty-one percent of Americans said they would rather be called generous than financially successful, according to the 2015 Money Mindset Report, and a third said they think the purpose of the money they make is to give back, either during their lifetime or afterward.
That's positive news, but the same research shows that while many Americans want to be generous, they aren't preparing financially for the future. They're lacking in long-term financial strategies, advice and tools, and this is generally true regardless of how much money a person makes.
'The data from our 2015 Money Mindset Report shows that a majority of people want to be generous, but may not be making other decisions that help them down the path of being wise with money,' says Brad Hewitt, CEO of Thrivent Financial. 'As people improve their money habits - by spending less than they make, being wise with debt, having short- and long-term plans, protecting against potential setbacks, and giving back - we find they're able to experience more freedom to fulfill their goals.'
Many Americans are unsure of their financial stability
Only 27 percent of the 1,001 American adults surveyed said they felt very confident they were making the right decisions with their money. Meanwhile, 16 percent said they struggle to keep up with day-to-day expenses, and 32 percent said they were just making ends meet. Only 10 percent felt they had more money than they needed.
The survey also showed many Americans struggle with their finances in other ways. Thirty-two percent don't have an emergency fund, 25 percent don't have a long-term financial strategy and 21 percent don't have a short-term strategy. More than three quarters do not work with a financial advisor, and more than half don't have life insurance, a retirement fund or disability income insurance.
The spirt to give continues
Yet despite the concerns about their own financial stability, Americans - particularly millennials - are still committed to being generous with their money. Seventy-one percent consider themselves more generous than the average American, and 59 percent think donating time makes a bigger impact than donating money. Sixty-four percent - and 70 percent of Millennials - regularly volunteer for a nonprofit with most of those volunteer hours being spent at churches and other organizations that help those in poverty.
Giving oneself the stability to give back
While the importance Americans place on generosity is commendable, research shows many need to shore up their own financial situations as well. The better Americans take care of themselves and improve their own financial stability, the more they will be able to reach out to help those in need.
To view the full report by Thrivent Financial visit Thrivent.com/moneymindset.