Consumers feel financial jitters

Financial Security Index

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You told us your concerns about your personal finances. We’re telling you what to do about them.

In February, the cautious optimism consumers exhibited in January dimmed somewhat, according to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index. And that was perhaps understandable. Job growth came screeching to a near-halt in January, according to federal statistics. Home prices are still falling, surveys show. And low savings and high debt continue to be major concerns for huge swaths of the American public.

So while economists say the danger of a double-dip recession is diminishing, it appears financial security may again be retreating.

The following snapshots summarize the February survey results, and provide expert analysis of what it all means, and how consumers should respond.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, or PSRAI. Interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source from Feb. 3-6, 2011. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±3.6 percentage points.