Americans are becoming more positive about their financial situation, according to a monthly poll commissioned by Bankrate.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index rebounded to 103.4, the highest level since June. The monthly index is a gauge of the country’s overall confidence.
There has been no deterioration in any component of financial security over the past year. The index saw improvement in 4 of the 5 areas, with saving showing no change compared with a year ago.
“In what may be a turning point, Americans’ comfort level with savings reached a break-even point for the first time, snapping the streak of downbeat readings that had prevailed every month since the poll debuted in December 2010,” says Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride, CFA.
The Financial Security Index uses a national telephone survey that’s conducted in English and Spanish by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Calls were made Nov. 5-8 with 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
Highlights: Recently, has staying current on bills, paying down debt or saving been your top priority?
- Staying current or getting caught up on bills was the top financial priority of every age group, and of all but the highest income group.
- For the highest-income households, paying down debt (30%) and saving (26%) ranked higher than staying current or getting caught up on bills (22%).
- Women (41%) were more likely than men (34%) to say their top priority was staying current or getting caught up on bills.
Highlights: Compared with last year, how secure is your job?
- 16% of men say they’re less secure about their jobs, compared with 11% of women.
- Democrats (28%) are more likely than Republicans (16%) to feel more secure about their jobs.
- Only 16% of the 50-64 age group and 6% of the 65+ age group say they feel more secure about their jobs compared with 28% of the 18-29 age group.
Highlights: Compared with last year, how do you feel about your savings?
- 30% of respondents ages 50-64 said they feel less comfortable about their savings, compared with 10% of those ages 18-29.
- Respondents in the highest-income group ($75,000+) were twice as likely (32% vs. 16%) to feel more comfortable with their savings than the lowest-income group (under $30,000).
- Democrats (27%) were more likely to feel more comfortable with their savings than Republicans (13%).
Highlights: How do you feel about your debt, compared with a year ago?
- Those in the 18-29 age group (30%) say they feel more comfortable with their debt than those in the 3 older age groups (23%, 25%, 19%).
- Those in the highest-income group ($75,000+) were more likely to feel more comfortable (36%) with their debt than those in the 3 lower-income groups (27%, 24%, 18%).
- Respondents in the Midwest (16%) and Northeast (15%) said they feel less comfortable about their debt levels than those in the South (10%) and West (14%).
Highlights: How is your net worth, compared with a year ago?
- Respondents ages 50-64 were twice as likely (18% vs. 9%) as respondents ages 18-29 to say their net worth is lower today.
- 46% of respondents earning $75,000 or more said their net worth is higher today, compared with 13% of respondents earning less than $30,000.
- 34% of men said their net worth is higher, compared with 21% of women.
Highlights: How would you describe your overall financial situation compared with a year ago?
- 37% of respondents in the West said their overall financial situation is better, compared with 20% in the Midwest.
- Respondents ages 18-29 (45%) were almost twice as likely to say their financial situation is better, compared with those ages 50-64 (23%).
- 25% of Republicans said their overall financial situation was worse today, compared with 13% of Democrats.
What’s the status of your personal finances? Give yourself a checkup with a free credit score at myBankrate.
Editor’s note: Percentages may not equal 100, due to rounding.