Financial security in the U.S. rose in November to the highest level in five months, according to a national Bankrate survey.
Americans noted improving confidence in job security, debt, net worth and overall financial situation in the monthly tally. Overall, their responses pushed Bankrate’s Financial Security Index to 101.3. That’s the highest since June, when it hit 101.5. Any reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months.
Despite the general financial security, Americans still noted a lagging comfort level with their personal savings when compared with the previous year. Nearly one-third said they’re less comfortable with their savings, while one-fifth said they’re more comfortable.
The telephone survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from Nov. 6 to 9 with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
What would you say has been your top financial priority in recent months?
- 43% of Republicans said their top priority was staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on bills, compared with 34% of Democrats.
- 22% of college graduates said their top priority was saving, compared with 15% of those who didn’t finish college.
- 47% of unemployed workers said the top priority was just staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on bills, compared with 37% of people with full-time jobs.
How do you feel about your job security compared with 12 months ago?
- 17% of people near retirement (ages 50 to 64) said they’re less secure, compared with 5% of millennials (ages 18 to 29).
- 32% of Democrats said they’re more secure, compared with 11% of Republicans.
- 25% of non-parents said they felt more secure, compared with 14% of parents.
How do you feel about the amount of money you have in savings compared with 12 months ago?
- 35% of people living in suburban communities said they felt less comfortable, compared with 26% of people in urban areas.
- 23% of college grads said they’re more comfortable with their savings, compared with 16% of people who never attended college.
- 31% of millennials said they were more comfortable, compared with 13% of people who were 65 or older.
How do you feel about the amount of debt you have compared with 12 months ago?
- 32% of people between 30 and 49 said they felt more comfortable, compared with 19% of millennials.
- 26% of Democrats said they felt more comfortable, compared with 18% of Republicans.
- 26% of parents said they felt less comfortable, compared with 19% 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:
- 45% of people with the highest annual incomes ($75,000 or more) said it was higher, compared with 28% of people who make between $50,000 and $75,000 a year.
- Employed people were twice as likely to say it was higher than unemployed people.
- 22% of parents said it was lower, compared with 16% of non-parents.
Compared with 12 months ago, do you feel your overall financial situation is:
- 26% of people in suburban areas said it was worse, compared with 18% of people in urban areas.
- 17% of people in the Northeast said they thought it was better today, compared with 29% of those in the Midwest.
- 26% of Republicans said it was worse, compared with 18% of Democrats.
Editor’s note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.