Kristin: After two months of upbeat readings on financial security, a run of disappointing economic data and ongoing concerns about the European debt crisis helped Americans' feelings of financial security post the biggest drop in 11 months. As a result, the Bankrate.com Financial Security Index fell to 97.9, the lowest level since March.
Here with us now to provide additional details is Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with Bankrate.com. Given the headlines in the past month or so Greg, this wasn't much of a surprise, so was this sentiment widespread across all areas of financial security?
Greg: It was Kristin, with readings on all 5 components of financial security -- job security, savings, debt, net worth, and overall financial situation -- slipping this month. But interestingly, despite another poor jobs report in early July, feelings of job security were the least affected and remain the component of financial security that Americans feel is most improved relative to one year ago. Fewer than 1-in-5 Americans feels less secure in their job than one year ago.
Kristin: Americans' comfort level with savings has long been a sore spot. Can you give us an update on where that stands?
Greg: It's still a sore spot. That comfort level did drop off this month, and as it stands, 39 percent of Americans feel less comfortable with their savings compared to last year, against just 16 percent that feel better. This is identical to the reading we had back in March.
Kristin: And I know Bankrate polled consumers on their budgeting habits. What did we learn?
Greg: We found that only 60 percent of Americans track their monthly spending against a budget, a figure that is little changed from 58 percent last year. For a nation where just 1-in-4 households has an adequate emergency savings cushion, the fact that only 60 percent adhere to a fundamental behavior such as tracking expenses reveals a key weakness.
Kristin's close: It certainly does, thank you Greg. And for more information on the monthly Financial Security Index, just log onto our website, Bankrate.com. I'm Kristin Arnold.