More consumers worried about finances

Financial Security Index

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If the economy is up, why do we feel so down?

That, in a nutshell, summarizes this month’s Financial Security Index.

Hiring may be on the rise, but we’re more worried about our jobs. Stocks have rebounded, but more of us feel poorer. And at a time when many economic indicators are trending positive, there’s growing stress about savings and distress about debt.

In an ominous sign that the recovery has yet to reach Main Street, the Financial Security Index poll also found that nearly one-fifth of surveyed respondents raided retirement savings in the last year to cover an emergency. For many — if not most — of those, the resources used to cover current economic ills will no doubt produce future financial pain. In that context, it’s perhaps not surprising that Bankrate’s Financial Security Index fell to a new low in April.

This story examines the dangerous trend of using retirement money prematurely. And the attached Financial Security Index slideshow gives a detailed look at the nation’s growing sense of economic uncertainty.