Americans are more concerned about their finances today than they were two years ago and many feel the services of financial planners are more necessary now than before the financial crisis, according to a survey by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Some 43% of respondents say the services of financial planners are more important now than two years ago. However the overall use of financial planners has remained nearly constant since then--29% two years ago versus 28% today.

That split may be because people still feel financial planners are only for the wealthy, says Jay Leveton, managing director of Penn, Schoen Berland, a Washington, D.C. polling firm that did the survey for the CFP Board. "That idea is something we have to dispel. Most financial planners deal with the mass affluent, from $100,000 to $1 million, not just the very affluent."

Also, "some people are reluctant to open up to others or do not know who to trust," says Robert J. Glovsky, chair of the CFP Board of Standards. He says that's why training standards and regulation are needed for all financial planners, something the CFP is working for through Congress. "Now, anyone can call themselves a financial planner."

The survey of 1,002 Americans was conducted in early July to mark the CFP Board's 25th anniversary. Nearly two out of three surveyed say their financial concerns are "much" or "somewhat" greater now than two years ago.

Only one-third expect their finances to improve in the next six months, while 44% expect the economy in general to improve in that time period. One-third describe their feelings about their personal finances as "cautious," while the second largest group, 26%, describe their feelings as "calm."

According to the survey, attitudes about the economy vary by ethnicity, with 38% of whites thinking the economy will improve, 51% of Hispanics holding that view and 74% of African Americans.

The most agreement was found in people's attitude toward Congress and regulators, where 80% feel both groups have not done enough to deal with the financial market problems and their impact on American investors.

"Most people seem to be settling in for a slow recovery," Glovsky says.