Bankrate's survey of six questions measures how secure Americans feel about their personal finances. Telephone interviews with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. were conducted April 5-8, 2012, by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The results of Bankrate's Financial Security Index, below, have a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.6 percentage points.
- 24% of respondents identifying as Democrats or Republicans say they favor stocks versus 14% of independents.
- Women in the Northeast are more bullish on stocks, with 28% willing to invest, compared to 15% of women elsewhere.
- 34% of Americans earning more than $75,000 say they're more inclined toward stocks, compared to just 14% of those earning less.
- 28% of those earning less than $30,000 say they feel more job security today than a year ago, compared to 14% of $75,000-plus earners.
- 28% of those who earned a high school diploma or less feel less secure in their work versus 17% of college grads.
- 27% of Southerners say they feel more secure today versus a year ago. The same was true for 17% of respondents from elsewhere.
- 35% of Hispanic respondents say they're more comfortable with savings versus a year ago; just 20% of whites and 13% of blacks concur.
- 42% of Northeasterners are less comfortable with their savings versus 33% of respondents elsewhere.
- 42% of those ages 50 to 64 say they're less comfortable with savings, versus 28% of those ages 18 to 49.
- 16% of respondents with a college degree are less comfortable with their debt than a year ago, versus 25% of those without one.
- 33% of Republicans are more comfortable with their debt compared to 12 months ago. 22% of independents say the same.
- 30% of urban and 28% of suburban respondents say they're more comfortable with their debt compared to 19% of rural folks.
- 45% of fathers reported a higher net worth versus a year ago. 32% of mothers reported the same thing.
- 30% of those 50 and older said their net worth was lower than it was a year ago. Just 17% of those younger than 50 said the same.
- 44% of respondents earning at least $50,000 said their net worth rose compared to 22% of those earning less.
- 30% of women say their overall financial situation is worse now than a year ago, compared to 22% of men.
- Finances are better this year for 40% of college grads, 34% of those with some college and 20% of those with less education.
- 30% and 32%, respectively, of urbanites and suburbanites report improved finances compared to 19% of rural folks.
Bankrate's Financial Security Index gauges how Americans feel today versus a year ago on vital financial matters. An index value of less than 100 indicates declining levels of financial security; a value greater than 100 reveals higher levels of security compared to 12 months ago.