Bankrate’s monthly survey measures how secure Americans feel about their personal finances compared to 12 months ago. From Oct. 3-6, 2013, telephone interviews (on landlines and cellphones) with 1,000 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 3.7 percentage points. This month, the index declined to 97.4, down 2.1 points from September.
- 81% of parents with kids under 18 say they have reasons to limit their spending, versus 68% of people who don’t have kids younger than 18.
- There were no major differences in how people of different income classes answered this question.
- 34% of people 65 and older say they have no reason to limit their spending, compared to 26% of those who are younger.
- Job fears are what’s most holding down spending for 10% of respondents earning $75,000 a year or more, compared to just 4% of respondents making less than $30,000.
- 17% of people in the Northeast and 12% of Midwesterners say too much debt is the reason they don’t spend more, while just 9% of Southerners and 8% of people in Western states take that position.
- 37% of adults younger than 30 say they don’t spend more because they need to save more, while just 16% of those approaching retirement age are in that camp.
- Nearly 1 in 3 women says she feels less job security today versus 12 months ago.
- Last month, our survey found that 23% of respondents felt more secure about their jobs, and 12% were less secure. In this month’s survey, the results are flipped, with only 14% feeling more secure about their jobs and 26% feeling less secure.
- 35% of Northeasterners, 26% of Westerners, 25% of Southerners, and 20% of Midwesterners say their jobs are less secure.
- 42% of women and 34% of men feel less comfortable about their savings.
- 20% of people making at least $50,000 feel more comfortable with their savings, compared to 11% of people with lower incomes.
- 45% of parents with kids younger than 18 say they’re less uncomfortable with their savings, versus 35% of everyone else.
- 26% of city folk and suburbanites are more comfortable today with their debt compared to 14% of rural respondents.
- 27% of people without a college degree feel more uneasy about their debt, versus 16% of college grads.
- 26% of respondents ages 18-64 say they’re more uncomfortable with their debt, while just 13% of people 65 and older feel the same way.
- 32% of men report a higher net worth, compared to just 23% of women.
- 33% of people making at least $30,000 per year say their net worth has risen, while just 17% of those making less than that say the same thing.
- 20% of Southerners, 19% of Midwesterners and 18% of Westerners say their net worth has fallen, versus 11% of Northeasterners.
- 34% of college grads say they’re better off today, compared to 25% of people with some college education and 17% without any.
- 33% of people making at least $50,000 per year say they’re doing better today, versus 16% of those making less than that.
- 30% of urbanites say they’re more well-off today, versus 23% of suburbanites and 16% of rural respondents who describe themselves that way.
Editor’s note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.
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.