investing

Americans' feelings on financial security

Despite record low interest rates on cash and fixed-income investments and record highs in the stock market, Americans are still not warming to the stock market. Seventy-three percent of Americans say they are not more inclined to invest in the stock market now, and this result comes despite the fact that the S&P 500 closed at a record high one day before polling began.

This result was also consistent with the findings in each of the past two years, when 76 percent said they were not more inclined to invest in the stock market. Further, these results held true across age and income brackets. While investors' attitudes toward the stock market haven't moved, the market certainly has. The S&P 500 is up 21 percent since last year's poll was conducted and 35 percent since the 2012 poll.

While Americans may be avoiding the buy-high, sell-low habit seen in previous market cycles, that's only because they're not buying at all. An overly conservative investment stance compounds the problem that so many have of not saving enough for longer-range goals like retirement.

The Financial Security Index slipped to 100.5 from 102.2 last month, but as it has in four of the past five months, remains in territory indicative of improvement compared with one year ago. Job security, net worth and overall financial situation each show consistent improvement relative to one year ago, while comfort level with debt swung from improvement to deterioration compared with one year ago for just the second time in seven months.

For more information on this month's Financial Security Index, just visit Bankrate.com. I'm Greg McBride.

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