Financial security among Americans increased in October for the third straight month, according to a monthly reading by Bankrate.com.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index increased to a measurement of 101, thanks to an improvement in job security, comfort level with debt, net worth and overall financial situation. Comfort level with savings deteriorated over the past 12 months, however.
The index, which is based on telephone interviews, suggests improved financial security whenever it rises above 100. The interviews were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from Oct. 2 to Oct. 5 with 1,007 adults living in the continental U.S.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
Do you have any reasons to limit how much you spend each month, or not?
Which of the following, if any, would you say is the biggest reason you do not increase your spending each month?
- Among millennials (ages 18 to 29), the majority said the reason for not spending more was a need to save more money. For those who are 65 years old and above, the main reason was a stagnant income.
- 15% of Democrats said the biggest reason not to increase spending was that they had too much debt. Only 6% of Republicans put debt as the biggest reason.
- 37% of whites said the reason for not boosting spending was that their income hasn’t changed, compared with 20% of Hispanics.
How do you feel about your job security compared with 12 months ago?
- People from suburban communities are twice as likely to say they feel less secure than those living in urban areas.
- Millennials are nearly twice as likely to feel more secure than people nearing retirement (between 50 and 64 years old).
- 29% of men said they feel more secure, compared with 17% of women.
How do you feel about the amount of money you have in savings compared with 12 months ago?
- College graduates are more than twice as likely to say they feel more comfortable than people who didn’t attend college.
- 40% of people between 50 and 64 years old said they felt less comfortable, compared with 24% of millennials.
- Full-time workers were nearly twice as likely to say they felt more comfortable than those with part-time jobs.
How do you feel about the amount of debt you have compared with 12 months ago?
- 23% of people from the South said they felt less comfortable, compared with 15% of people from the West.
- 28% of college graduates are more comfortable, compared with 18% of people who didn’t attend college.
- 38% of high earners (those with annual income of at least $75,000) said they felt more comfortable, compared with 15% of those who earned less than $30,000.
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:
- 27% of whites said their net worth was higher, compared with 15% of those who identify as Hispanic.
- 30% of parents said their net worth was higher, compared with 22% of non-parents.
- 31% of people from the West said their net worth was higher, compared with 22% of those from the South.
Compared with 12 months ago, do you feel your overall financial situation is:
- 35% of full-time workers said their situation is better, compared with 17% of those who are unemployed.
- 27% of those nearing retirement (ages 50 to 64) said their situation is worse, compared with 17% of 18- to 29-year-olds.
- 33% of college graduates said their situation is better today, compared with 21% of those who didn’t attend college.
Editor’s note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.