Americans continue to feel better about many aspects of their personal finances when compared with a year ago, according to a monthly reading from Bankrate.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index remained in positive territory in April with a score of 102. Any index reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months.
The survey that accompanied the index showed that people felt better about their job security, debt levels, net worth and overall financial situation when compared with how they felt a year ago. Savings levels continue to be a weakness, however. The size of one’s nest egg continues to be a concern for many Americans, though the difference between those who were more comfortable and less comfortable with their savings was within the survey’s margin of error.
The Financial Security Index has shown improvement for 11 months in a row, though April’s reading was slightly below previous measurements in the first quarter of 2015. “The feelings on job security, net worth and overall financial security weren’t as strong as last month, following a disappointingly weak jobs report and a choppy stock market,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.
The Financial Security Index is based on a telephone survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The survey was taken from April 1 to 4 with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. It h as a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
- The more educated people are, the greater their interest in investing. Among college graduates, 35% were more inclined to invest; only 11% of those who never attended college responded the same way.
- The bigger the salary people make, the greater their interest in investing. One-third of those who made $75,000 or more were more inclined to invest, compared with 11% of those who made under $30,000.
- Men were more interested in investing: 24% of men said they’d be more inclined to invest, compared with 17% of women.
How do you feel about your job security compared with 12 months ago?
- Regionally, 31% of people living in the South said they were more secure about their jobs — about twice the rate of their counterparts in the Northeast and Midwest.
- 34% of Democrats said they were more secure about their jobs, compared with 18% of Republicans.
- Seniors (those at least 65 years old) were five times as likely to say they felt less secure about their jobs than the youngest group in the survey (people between 18 and 29 years old).
How do you feel about the amount of money you have in savings compared with 12 months ago?
- The higher the education level, the more likely people are to say they’re comfortable with their savings.
- People earning at least $50,000 a year were twice as likely to say they’re more comfortable with their savings as people who made less than $30,000 a year.
- Urban and suburban dwellers were almost twice as likely as people living in rural areas to say they’re more comfortable with their savings.
How do you feel about the amount of debt you have compared with 12 months ago?
- Full-time workers were almost twice as likely as people who don’t have jobs to say they were more comfortable with their debt.
- Among those who graduated college, 30% said they were more comfortable with their debt, compared with 19% of people who never attended college.
- 28% of those who live in the Midwest said they were more comfortable with their debt, compared with 16% of people from the Northeast.
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:
- People with full-time jobs were more than twice as likely as unemployed workers to report a higher net worth.
- Those with the highest incomes were nearly four times as likely as those with the lowest incomes to say they have a higher net worth.
- Republicans were nearly twice as likely as Democrats to say they have a lower net worth.
Compared with 12 months ago, do you feel your overall financial situation is:
- Among college grads, 36% said their financial situation is better today, compared with 25% of those who never graduated college and 21% of those who never attended college.
- People making less than $30,000 were twice as likely as people making $75,000 or more to say their financial situation is worse today.
- Among those living in urban areas, 32% said their situation is better today, compared with 21% of those living in rural areas.
Editor’s note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.