This article was originally published on Citi’s Women & Co.

Last week, I shared the results of a recent Citi/Seventeen survey about how today’s college students are showing new signs of financial responsibility (you can find my post here). Not surprising, when discussing these findings with reporters and bloggers, the #1 follow-up question was about what this tells us about the financial health of the “Bank of Mom and Dad.” That’s not something we explored as part of our survey with Seventeen magazine, but the recently released Citi Economic Pulse survey offered some clues.

Like those in college, more adult Americans are setting and tracking their expenses using a budget. Three out of four say they’ve learned from their pre-recession financial mistakes. To that end, the majority — around 60 percent — are paying off credit card balances each month as well as setting aside some money for emergencies and other savings. About half report using online bill pay services to avoid missing payments and incurring late fees. And, when they do spend, 2 out of 5 are maximizing rewards from their credit cards and one-quarter report using online coupons from websites to stretch their hard-earned dollars.

Despite lingering headwinds on the job front, the overwhelming majority of adults — 77 percent — are optimistic about their financial future. In fact, sentiment about current and future economic conditions reached positive territory for the first time since we started the poll in 2009.

When it comes to priorities for the coming year, saving more, earning more, and less debt are at the top of the list. Also top of mind: learning more about ways to save for retirement and about investing.

How well are you doing on these aspects of managing your finances? Is there anything you are doing differently today to move your finances forward?

Linda Descano serves as a Managing Director and Head of Digital Partnerships, Content and Social for North America Marketing at Citi. In this role, she is responsible for creating and delivering competitively differentiating consumer engagement experiences in digital and social channels to drive brand health and business goals. Linda is also President and CEO of Women & Co., a service of Citi that brings women relevant financial content and thoughtful commentary to get them thinking and talking about money. 

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