Financial Security Index rebounds
Bankrate's survey of six questions measures how secure Americans feel about their personal finances compared to 12 months ago. October's index rose to 99.2. From October 4-7, 2012, telephone interviews with 1,006 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.
- 26% of those younger than 65 say they're more inclined to borrow now, versus 12% of those 65 and older.
- 14% of rural respondents say they're more inclined to borrow, compared to 25% of city dwellers and suburbanites.
- Higher earners are more inclined to borrow: 28% of those earning more than $50,000, versus 20% earning less.
- 19% of men say they feel less secure about their jobs than a year ago, compared to 11% of women.
- 27% of Hispanics report feeling less secure, compared to 8% of black respondents and 14% of white respondents.
- 30% of Democrats feel more job security than last year, versus 8% of Republicans.
- 24% of college grads feel better about savings compared to a year ago, versus 13% who didn't complete college.
- 46% of Republicans, 39% of Independents and 28% of Democrats are less comfortable with their savings this year.
- Among retirees, 16% are more comfortable with their savings, 36% are less so, and 45% feel about the same as last year.
- 32% of Democrats feel more comfortable with debt this year than last year, versus 16% of Republicans.
- 31% of Hispanic respondents are less comfortable with their debt, compared to 19% of white respondents.
- 23% of those younger than 65 report feeling less comfort with debt, compared to 13% of those 65-plus.
- Net worth shrank over the past 12 months for 14% of Democrats, 27% of Independents and 30% of Republicans.
- Net worth grew the most for urbanites -- 30%, compared to 22% for rural folks and suburbanites.
- 34% of college grads report a higher net worth this year, versus 21% for those with a high school education at most.
- 35% of Westerners and 23% of people living in all other regions say they're worse off versus a year ago.
- 32% of those younger than 30 say their overall finances are better this year, versus 14% of those 65-plus.
- 34% of Republicans and 27% of Independents say they're worse off, compared to just 16% of Democrats.
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.