Bankrate’s monthly survey of six questions measures how secure Americans feel about their personal finances compared to 12 months ago. From Jan. 3-6, 2013, telephone interviews (on landlines and cellphones) with 1,003 adults living in the continental U.S. were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The results of Bankrate’s Financial Security Index have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. This month, the index increased to 98.6, three points higher than December 2012.
- 65% of Midwesterners spent about what they expected — a bigger percentage than every other part of the country.
- 30% of those younger than 30 went over their budget, while just 12% of those older than 30 did the same.
- 20% of Independents spent more than expected compared to 13% of Republicans and 15% of Democrats.
- 33% of people younger than 30 feel more job security, compared to 18% of people older than 30.
- 20% of Republicans say they have less job security, versus just 9% of those across the aisle.
- 24% of urbanites and suburbanites feel more job security. Only 13% of rural respondents said the same.
- 36% of those who didn’t graduate college are less comfortable with their savings, as opposed to 28% of college grads.
- 20% of respondents making at least $75,000 are more comfortable with their savings. Only 12% of those earning less agree.
- 15% of suburbanites are more comfortable with their savings, while just around 9% of those living in rural areas are.
- 21% of suburbanites say they’re doing better with their debt, as do 14% of rural folks.
- 29% of Southerners are less comfortable with their debt, compared to 18% of the rest of the country.
- 15% of college graduates are uncomfortable with their debt, but so are 25% of those less educated.
- 26% of men and 18% of women say their net worth has increased over the past year.
- 24% of those older than 50 report lower net worth, compared to 13% of those younger than 50 who feel the same.
- 33% of those making at least $50,000 have increased net worth, compared to 16% of those who make less.
- 39% of those making at least $75,000 feel they are better off today, compared to 19% of those with lower incomes.
- 26% of men feel they are doing better today, as do 19% of women.
- 15% of college grads, 24% of those with some college education, and 30% with a high school diploma at most feel they are doing worse today.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index gauges how Americans feel today versus a year ago on vital financial matters. An index value of less than 100 indicates declining levels of financial security; a value greater than 100 reveals higher levels of security compared to 12 months ago.