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Young Americans under 30-a prime age group for first-time home buying-are feeling considerable better about their financial picture than they did a year ago, according to a major new study from Bankrate.

Twenty Somethings are Faring Better

Young Americans under 30-a prime age group for first-time home buying-are feeling considerable better about their financial picture than they did a year ago, according to a major new study from Bankrate.

Nearly one-third of those younger than 30 say their overall situation is better today than it was last year and 25 feel more secure about their jobs than they did in November 2010.

By comparison, older Americans remain glum. Only 1 in 10 Americans age 30 to 64 feel more secure in their jobs now than they did a year ago. Three times as many feel less secure. Only 17 percent of those approaching retirement (age 50-64) feel better about their overall financial situation than a year ago.

Workers with less education and lower paying jobs feel less secure. Roughly a quarter of college grads feel less secure today than a year ago, but 34 percent with a high school education or less fell less secure. Among low earners (less than $30,000), only 19 percent feel better off, while 38 percent feel their overall finances are worse. Nearly half of those earning less than $50,000 say they’ll spend less on the holidays, versus about 30 percent of those earning more.

“Recent years have been hard, and that’s a tough feeling for some people to shake. Almost half of the people surveyed said their situation is about the same today as a year ago. Of the rest, more think their situation (is) worse than better. None of this surprises me because our national mood tilts toward pessimism right now. But I’m reminded of the old saying that it seems darkest right before the dawn. Recent years have been hard, and that’s a tough feeling for some people to shake. Chances are good that those people will still feel bad even as their financial situation slowly improves. Even in the best of economic times, improvement comes in small increments. There aren’t a lot of “Hallelujah!” days in personal finance, commented Dan Danford, CFP, principal at Family Investment Center in St. Joseph, Mo.

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