smart spending

Americans' feelings on financial security


Has all this talk of the fiscal cliff prompted you to cut back on your spending? That's the question asked consumers in this month's Financial Security Index poll and here with the results is Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Greg, is the fiscal cliff impacting consumer spending?

Lucas, according to one-third of Americans, it is. That's how many consumers say they have cut back on their personal spending, just in the last 30 days, specifically due to concerns about the fiscal cliff. And that number is sure to grow the longer this drags on.

I'd imagine that if people are worried enough about the fiscal cliff to trim their spending, it is probably undermining their feelings of financial security too. Is that the case?

It sure is. The Financial Security Index fell to a 2012 low of 95.6, and for the second month in a row we saw a decline in all 5 components of financial security – job security, savings, debt, net worth, and overall financial situation. Each of those 5 now posts a reading indicative of deterioration compared to one year ago.

Back to the spending question for a second. Who were those most or least likely to have cut back?

Those most inclined to have cut back on spending in the past 30 days are households with income under $30,000 or those with no more than a high school diploma. Among age groups, people 65 and older were the most likely to have cut back while those under age 30 were least likely.

Thanks Greg. I'm sure if a deal is struck to avert the fiscal cliff we'll certainly see better results next month. For more on this month's Financial Security Index, check out


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