[Begin VIDEO with Kristin Arnold, Bankrate.com anchor introducing the video topic]
Intro: Holiday shopping season is now in full swing and many people will gauge the health of the economy on how much consumers are spending online and at the mall. Bankrate.com is out with the monthly Financial Security Index and here with insight is Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.
[Cut to a double screen of Kristin Arnold and Greg McBride]
Kristin: Greg, what did consumers tell Bankrate.com about their holiday spending plans for this year?
Greg: Forty-two percent of Americans say they intend to spend less this holiday season than they did a year ago ... and sorry kids, but nearly half of parents, 49%, say they intend to spend less this year than last year. Only about 1 in 10 Americans say they expect to spend more this holiday season.
Kristin: And what about their overall level of financial security?
Greg: The Financial Security Index fell for the second month in a row. It was dragged lower by mostly lower levels of job security. Only about 1 and 8 Americans feels more secure in their job today than they did 12 months ago. The Financial Security Index is at the second lowest level of the year and it's behind only that abysmal August reading.
Kristin: Any change in how consumers feel about savings and debt?
Greg: Well, aided mostly by the October stock market rally, we did see a little bit of a rebound on net worth. More people reporting higher net-worth than a year ago ... fewer people reporting lower net-worth than last year. But the feelings on savings and debt were largely unchanged since October.
[Cut to one shot of Kristin on camera]
Kristin: To read more about consumers' plans for holiday spending and their feelings on financial security, check out the latest Financial Security Index at Bankrate.com.