American financial security jumps 3% in June
Financial security continued to charge ahead in June with Americans noting improvement in several aspects of their personal finances, according to a monthly reading by Bankrate.
Bankrate's Financial Security Index rose 3 percent compared with the same period last year, and it remained in positive territory for the 13th straight month. The index, which is based on a national telephone survey, showed improving feelings among Americans about job security, net worth, comfort level with debt and overall financial situation.
The index peaked in February, reaching the highest level in its five-year history.
The only weakness in the June survey came when people were asked about their savings. Americans have indicated a heightened concern about their savings since the Financial Security Index began, and that continued this month. Those concerns are easing, however. In 2011, Americans were more than twice as likely to say that they were less comfortable with their savings than more comfortable. The gap has narrowed this year, and the difference is now within the margin of error.
Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducts the survey that accompanies the index. This month's survey was taken from June 4 to 7 with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
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- Republicans are big savers. Among those identifying with the GOP, only 17% said they have no emergency savings, compared with 26% of Democrats and 32% of independents.
- Education matters. Those who didn't attend college were more than four times as likely as college graduates to say they have no emergency savings.
- The more income, the more savings: 41% of those reporting the highest incomes in the survey ($75,000 or more) said they have enough to cover six months' expenses or more. That compares with 27% of people making between $50,000 and $74,999 and 22% of those making between $30,000 and $49,999.
- Men were more than three times as likely as women to say they are less secure about their jobs.
- The youngest segment of the workforce, those between 18 and 29 years old, are the most secure in their jobs.
- Of those making between $30,000 and $49,999, 40 percent said they are more secure, compared with 25% of the top wage earners.
- People with jobs were nearly twice as likely as those who don't to say they are comfortable with their savings.
- Among seniors (65 years old and up), 27% said they are less comfortable with their savings, compared with 18% of people between 18 and 29 years old.
- College graduates were nearly twice as likely to say they are more comfortable with their savings than those who never attended college.
- One-third of full-time workers said they are more comfortable with their debt, compared with 18% of those who don't have jobs.
- Among those who never attended college, 20% said they are more comfortable with their debt, compared with 31% of those who attended some college.
- Among people living in the South, 28% said they are more comfortable, compared with 20% of those in the Midwest.
- People with jobs were more than twice as likely as those without jobs to say their net worth is higher today.
- Among those residing in the West, 34% said they felt their net worth is higher today, compared with 22% of those living in the Northeast and Midwest and 23% of those living in the South.
- Among those between 30 and 49 years old, 34% said their net worth is higher, compared with 21% of those between 50 and 64.
- Those between 18 and 49 were more than twice as likely as those 65 or older to say their financial situation is better today.
- College graduates were more than twice as likely as those who never attended college to say their financial situation is better today.
- Those making less than $30,000 were more than twice as likely to say their situation is worse today as those making $75,000 or more.
Editor's note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.