Trying to get a handle on the way that regular Americans see their financial future seems to lie in the eye of the beholder – but according to Principal’s Financial Well-Being Index, things are looking brighter, even for their retirement.

This year’s survey demonstrates a significant improvement over sentiments gathered last year, though the metrics are still telling: 27 percent of workers say they have an optimistic outlook for the economy and their own fianancial lives, up from a depressing 12 percent in third quarter 2011.

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