Eighty percent of Americans are optimistic about their future, according to a Lincoln Financial Group survey released today. That's up eight percentage points from the prior survey two years ago.

The “Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction – M.O.O.D – of America” study also found that the number of respondents that feel the country is ‘headed in the right direction’ is up 26 percentage points, from 17 percent in 2011 to 43 percent this year.

The survey asked respondents if they feel ‘in control’ of their personnel life and financial future. Sixty-eight percent (up two percentage points from 2011) said they were, and that being debt-free, staying on a budget, paying credit card balances each month and saving for retirement were important steps to gaining control of their financial future.

“It is promising that so many Americans are not only confident about the future, but are also taking steps to gain control of it," said Dennis R. Glass, president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group.

The study found that ‘in control’ Americans who speak with a financial advisor are six times more likely (35 percent compared to 6 percent) to feel ‘very prepared’ for retirement than their counterparts who have neither taken control of their lives nor spoken with a financial professional.

Financial advisors topped the list of preferred sources for financial advice and information (38 percent). Online searches (35 percent), partners (31 percent) and friends (24 percent) followed as other sources respondents turned to for financial information.

Financial concerns still persist with many respondents. Only 18 percent of respondents between the ages of 55 and 64 said they feel ‘very prepared’ for retirement. Personal debt is a concern for 39 percent of respondents, followed by retirement planning (32 percent) and taxes (31 percent).

Results for the M.O.O.D. of America poll are based on an online survey conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies (WINS), on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group. The research was conducted in late March 2013, among 2,322 adults 18 years of age and older across the United States.