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Americans' feelings on financial security


What is your top financial priority? asked that very question in this month's Financial Security Index and here to tell us how Americans responded is Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at So Greg, what is the top financial priority Americans are citing?

Lucas, nearly one-third of Americans – actually 32 percent – said just staying current on their bills or getting caught up on all the bills, is their top financial priority right now. This was the most common response across all age groups, and when looked at on the basis of income, we can clearly see this was the top concern among households with annual incomes below $50,000.

What other priorities did Americans cite? I'd have guessed paying down debt or saving more would have ranked highly.

Those were the second and third most common responses, with more than 1-in-5 Americans listing each of those as their top financial priority. In fact, paying down debt and saving became ever more common responses as income increased, while staying current or getting caught up on bills became less common as income increased. Providing financial assistance to family members or friends was cited fairly evenly across all income groups.

And finally, what did Americans have to say about their feelings of financial security this month?

People's feelings about all 5 components of financial security slipped in November, and just one – net worth – remains at a level indicative of improvement versus one year ago. The election was already over when the poll was conducted, so it is evident from the responses that uncertainty over the fiscal cliff is beginning to creep in.

The fiscal cliff is definitely one of those front-burner issues. Let's hope we're not still talking about it in a couple of months. Thank you, Greg. To see more of's Financial Security Index, just go to our website, I'm Lucas Wysocki.


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