Americans’ feelings of financial security are at their highest level in six months, according to Bankrate.com’s December Financial Security Index, which was released today. The overall index jumped 3.3 points to 95.8, the highest level since June.
Improvement was seen in every component of the index - job security, savings, debt, net worth and overall financial situation. The biggest improvement was in job security, a critical metric for the real estate economy. Those feeling less secure than a year ago fell from 28 percent to 18 percent, while 64 percent now feel the same level of job security, the highest recorded since polling began in Dec. 2010.
Despite the December improvement, the Financial Security Index is still below 100, which indicates that consumers are feeling less financially secure than one year ago. “2011 was not a year of progress in terms of consumers’ financial security,” said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. “Each component - job security, savings, debt, net worth and overall financial situation - ended 2011 lower than where it was in January.”
The survey found that those under age 30 feel more secure than other age groups, while those age 50 and up feel less secure than younger age groups.
In terms of retirement, the under-30 set feels more comfortable than other age groups, while those age 50-64 and retirees feel less secure.
Americans with annual household income of $75,000 or more are more comfortable than others, while parents and households with income under $30,000 are, understandably, less comfortable than anyone else.
Households with annual income of $75,000 or more are most likely to report higher net worth than one year ago, while those with household income under $30,000 are most likely to report lower net worth.
Those under age 30 are most likely to report a better overall financial situation, while those age 50-64, households with annual income less than $30,000 and the unemployed are the groups most likely to report their overall financial situation as worse today than one year ago.