A new study that gauges the state of financial planning in America found that most people believe they are moving in the right direction when it comes to managing debt, paying for their children's educations, work, spending, saving and investing in improvements.

The "Planning Perspectives Study" conducted by independent research firm Ipsos on behalf of Northwestern Mutual, asked Americans what progress they are making in their personal financial planning, according to Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual executive vice president.

"At the same time, we're looking at how this all fits against the larger backdrop of what is taking place in America today. What we're seeing is contrasting views about the direction individuals are moving versus the nation," he said.

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