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Financial security remains strong despite job concerns

Americans' top investment choice: Real estate » Financial Security Index Charts

Americans continue to feel good about their personal finances despite a diminished confidence in their jobs, according to a monthly reading by Bankrate.

Bankrate's Financial Security Index for July remained in positive territory for the 14th month. However, the monthly reading was 2.3 percent lower than June's index -- thanks, in part, to a decline in job security. The index measured 102.1 for the month. Any reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months.

When asked how they felt about their jobs compared with 12 months ago, 22 percent said they felt "more secure" while 14 percent said they felt "less secure." That was a weaker response than in June, when 29 percent said they felt "more secure" and 9 percent said "less secure."

Americans also showed more pessimism about their level of savings. When asked about the money they'd socked away, 29 percent said they were "less comfortable" with their level of savings compared with a year ago. Only 18 percent said they were "more comfortable."

Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducts the survey that accompanies the index. This month's survey was taken July 9-12 with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Highlights:

  • Men were more likely to favor real estate while women were more likely to favor cash investments.
  • Among the youngest in the survey (between 18 and 29 years old), the majority (32%) favored cash.
  • Among those between 30 and 49, the majority (32%) favored real estate.

Highlights:

  • Among those just entering the workforce (ages 18-29), 27% said they were "more secure" compared with 16% of those at the back end of their careers (ages 50-64).
  • Republicans were more than three times as likely to say they were "less secure" about their jobs than Democrats.
  • Lower-income workers (salaries less than $50,000) were more likely to say they were "more secure" in their jobs than people making near the national average ($50,000 to $74,999).

Highlights:

  • Among college graduates, 23% said they were "more comfortable" with their savings, compared with 14% of those who never attended college.
  • Among Republicans, 34% said they were "less comfortable" with their savings, compared with 22% of Democrats.
  • People living in urban areas were twice as likely to say they felt "more comfortable" than people living in rural areas.

Highlights:

  • Lower-income households (making less than $30,000 per year) were more than twice as likely to say they were "less comfortable" about their debt than people making the highest salaries ($75,000 or more).
  • 31% of people living in the Midwest said they felt "more comfortable" about their debt, compared with 19% of those in the Northeast.
  • 32% of full-time workers said they felt "more comfortable" compared with 18% of people who were unemployed.

Highlights:

  • 37% of college grads said their net worth was "higher" today, compared with 18% of those who never attended college.
  • Among men, 32% said their net worth was "higher" compared with 22% of women.
  • 32% of people living in the West said their net worth was "higher" compared with 23% of people living in the South.

Highlights:

  • 33% of men said their situation was "better" compared with 25% of women.
  • 38% of Democrats said their situation was "better" compared with 27% of Republicans.
  • Among those who never attended college, 25% said their situation was "worse" compared with 15% of those who graduated from college.

What's the status of your finances? Give yourself a checkup with a free credit score at myBankrate.

Editor's note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.

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