Bankrate's survey of six questions measures how secure Americans feel about their personal finances compared to 12 months ago. On July 5-8, 2012, telephone interviews with 1,004 adults living in the continental U.S. were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The results of Bankrate's Financial Security Index have a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.7 percentage points.
- Household income has little bearing on whether people track their spending against a monthly budget.
- 70% of parents with kids younger than 18 say they track their spending, compared to 57% of adults with no kids.
- 34% of those with at least some college education do not keep a monthly budget. The same is true of 45% of those with no college education.
- 29% of city dwellers and 19% of suburbanites feel more job security now than 12 months ago.
- 8% of people younger than 30 say they feel less secure versus 23% of those 30 and older.
- 26% of those with at most a high school diploma say they feel less job security, compared to 16% of those with at least some college education.
- 42% of women feel less comfortable with savings than a year ago. Just 35% of men feel the same way.
- 26% of fathers with children younger than 18 feel more comfortable with savings, compared to 16% of men with no kids.
- 30% of high earners ($75,000-plus) feel less comfortable with savings, compared to 43% of those earning less.
- A third of Republicans (32%) say they're more comfortable with debt than a year ago, compared to 24% of Democrats.
- Just 17% of those 65 and older are more comfortable with debt now, compared to 27% of those who are ages 18 to 64.
- Just 17% of those from the Northeast are more comfortable with debt versus 25% of those from other regions.
- 29% of those older than 50 say their net worth is lower today than 12 months ago; 12% of people younger than 30 say the same.
- 35% of high earners ($75,000-plus) report higher net worth now, compared to 16% of those earning less than $30,000.
- Regionally, 16% of Northeasterners report higher net worth, versus 26% of people from other parts of the nation.
- 30% of those with some college education say they're better off than a year ago, compared to 13% who didn't go to college.
- 34% of those earning less than $50,000 per year say they're worse off, versus 20% of those earning $50,000 or more.
- Regionally, 31% of urban dwellers report being better off, as do 19% of suburban and rural respondents.
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.