Financial security surged in May as Americans expressed growing confidence in their jobs, debt levels and overall net worth.

Bankrate’s Financial Security Index measured at 104.6 for the month, the second-highest reading since it began in 2010. The record of 104.8 was set in February. Any index reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months.

The FSI is based on a telephone survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The survey was taken from April 30 to May 3 with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

People were asked to assess the state of their personal finances compared with 12 months ago. Those who responded were more than twice as likely to say they were “more secure” about their jobs than “less secure.” They were also more likely to be “more comfortable” about their levels of debt, and more likely to note a higher net worth and a better overall financial situation. However, people were more likely to say they were “less comfortable” with their savings.

Highlights:

  • Among parents, 49% said they spent it on necessities, compared with 37% of non-parents.
  • People who earned the highest incomes ($75,000 or more) were more than twice as likely to say they saved the money, compared with those who earned the lowest incomes (less than $30,000).
  • 47% of people who never attended college said they spent it on necessities, compared with 31% of college grads.
How do you feel about your job security compared with 12 months ago?

Highlights:

  • People in the youngest age group (18-29 years old) were nearly three times as likely to say they were “more secure” about their jobs than people nearing retirement (50-64 years old).
  • People living in rural areas were more than twice as likely to say they were “less secure” than people living in suburban areas.
  • 30% of parents said they were “more secure,” compared with 21% of non-parents.
How do you feel about the amount of money you have in savings compared with 12 months ago?

Highlights:

  • People with jobs were twice as likely to say they were “more comfortable” about their savings than people who were unemployed.
  • College grads were almost twice as likely to be “more comfortable” than those who never attended college.
  • Those with higher incomes were more likely to say they were “more comfortable” about their savings.
How do you feel about the amount of debt you have compared with 12 months ago?

Highlights:

  • About 32% of people between 30 and 49 years old said they were “more comfortable” with their debt, compared with 22% of those between 50 and 64.
  • Among those in the Midwest, 31% said they were “more comfortable” compared with 19% of those in the Northeast.
  • Among parents, 32% said they were “more comfortable” with their debt, compared with 24% of non-parents.
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:

Highlights:

  • Non-parents were more than twice as likely as parents to say their net worth was “lower” today.
  • 38% of college grads said their net worth was “higher” today, compared with 23% of those who never attended college.
  • People making the lowest incomes (under $30,000) were more than three times as likely as people making at least $50,000 to say their net worth was “lower” today.
Compared with 12 months ago, do you feel your overall financial situation is:

Highlights:

  • People making the highest incomes ($75,000 and up) were nearly twice as likely as those with the lowest incomes (less than $30,000) to say their financial situation was “better” today.
  • Among parents, 43% said their overall situation is “better” today, compared with 25% of non-parents.
  • About 37% of those in the Midwest said their situation was “better” today, compared with 26% of those who live in the Northeast.

Editor’s note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.

Financial Security Index

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