Bankrate's survey of six questions measures how secure Americans feel about their personal finances compared to 12 months ago. On June 7-10, 2012, telephone interviews with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. were conducted 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.
- 41% of retirees say they have enough to cover at least six months' expenses; 26% have less than that, and 18% have none.
- 38% of nonwhite respondents report having no emergency savings, compared to 23% of white respondents.
- 28% of Democrats and 31% of independents say they have no emergency savings, versus 19% of Republicans.
- 27% of Democrats and 28% of independents feel more job security today versus a year ago, compared to 13% of Republicans.
- 38% of men ages 18-24 feel more secure today; the same is true for just 27% of women the same age.
- Slightly more mothers than fathers (24% and 17%, respectively) report feeling more job security versus 12 months ago.
- 27% of Democrat-leaning independents say they're more comfortable with their savings. Just 14% of Republican leaners concur.
- 19% of urban and suburban dwellers are more comfortable with savings than a year ago, compared to 9% of rural respondents.
- 27% of Westerners say they're more comfortable with savings, compared to just 15% from other regions.
- 28% of minorities say they're less comfortable with debt than a year ago, versus 14% of white respondents.
- 29% of those with at least some college say they are more comfortable with debt, compared to 20% of those with a high school education.
- 15% of those making less than $30,000 report being more comfortable with debt, compared to 32% earning at least $30,000.
- 30% of men report a higher net worth from 12 months ago, 9 percentage points higher than women, at 21%.
- Regionally, those reporting a decline in net worth were 23% of Midwesterners, 25% of Southerners, 12% of Northeasterners and 15% of Westerners.
- 44% of those respondents ages 25-35 report an increase in net worth, compared to 23% of all other age groups.
- 31% of Republicans say their finances are worse now than a year ago; 14% of Democrats and 19% of independents agree.
- 27% of age 50-plus folks say they're worse off, compared to 16% of those ages 18 to 49.
- 3 in 10 rural respondents say they're worse off, versus 19% of urban and 21% of suburban dwellers.
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.