Americans rang in 2015 with the strongest levels of financial security in at least four years, according to a national Bankrate survey.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index for January jumped to a reading of 103.1 as survey takers appeared to be less pessimistic about their savings, debt, net worth and overall financial situation. That’s the highest mark since Bankrate started measuring financial security in December 2010. Any reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months.
Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, notes that fewer people consider their financial situation to be in decline. Many are now seeing their finances stabilize.
“Americans’ feelings of financial security hit a record high, not because things got better, as much as they got less bad,” McBride says.
The Financial Security Index is based on a telephone survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The survey was taken from Jan. 8 to 11 with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
- Millennials (ages 18-29) were most likely to go over their holiday budget.
- People nearing retirement age (ages 50-64) were most likely to spend less than expected.
- Democrats were more likely to stay under budget than Republicans.
How do you feel about your job security compared with 12 months ago?
- Millennials were more likely to say they were “more secure” about their jobs than any other age group.
- Republicans were twice as likely to say they were “less secure” than Democrats.
- People living in the South were twice as likely to say they were “less secure” than people in the Midwest.
How do you feel about the amount of money you have in savings compared with 12 months ago?
- 23% of men said they were “more comfortable” with their savings, compared with 14% of women.
- 25% of college grads said they were “more comfortable,” compared with 15% of people who never attended college.
- Part-time workers were just as likely to say they were “less comfortable” as unemployed workers.
How do you feel about the amount of debt you have compared with 12 months ago?
- 34% of Hispanics said they were “more comfortable” with their debt, compared with 23% of white, non-Hispanics.
- 27% of men said they were “more comfortable,” compared with 21% of women.
- People living in the Northeast were twice as likely to say they were “less comfortable” as people living in the Midwest and in the West.
Please think about your net worth, or your total assets, including any real estate equity, minus your debts. Compared with 12 months ago, is your net worth:
- 31% of men said their net worth was “higher,” compared with 22% of women.
- 40% of college grads said their net worth was “higher,” compared with 16% of those who didn’t attend college.
- People in the Northeast and Midwest were more than twice as likely as people in the West to say their net worth was “lower.”
Compared with 12 months ago, do you feel your overall financial situation is:
- 21% of unemployed workers said their overall situation was “worse,” compared with 13% of those with at least a part-time job.
- 33% of college grads said their situation was “better,” compared with 20% of people who never attended college.
- 30% of men said their situation was “better,” compared with 23% of women.
Editor’s note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.