Strong readings on job security and debt pushed financial security in December to the highest level in nine months, according to a national Bankrate survey.

Bankrate’s Financial Security Index rose to a reading of 102. That’s the highest mark since March, when it hit 102.2. Any reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months.

The survey also showed a rise in the proportion of Americans with an improved overall financial situation this year. However, survey takers remained concerned about their levels of personal savings. Nearly a third of survey respondents said they were “less comfortable” with their savings than they were 12 months before.

The telephone survey was conducted Dec. 4-7 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International with 1,001 adults living in the continental U.S. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Are you planning to spend more this holiday shopping season, or not? Are you planning to spend more because of falling gasoline prices?

Highlights:

  • Among those spending more, lower-income Americans (between $30,000 and $49,999) were the most likely to say it was because of lower gas prices.
  • Among those spending more, higher-income Americans ($75,000 and up) were more likely to say it was not because of a gas price drop.
  • Republicans were more likely (90%) than Democrats (80%) to say they weren’t spending more.
How do you feel about your job security compared with 12 months ago?

Highlights:

  • Hispanics were more than twice as likely to say they were “more secure” today about their jobs than respondents who identified as white, non-Hispanic.
  • People living in the South and West were more likely to feel “more secure” than those living in the Northeast.
  • Americans who never finished college were twice as likely to say they were “less secure” than people who received a diploma.
How do you feel about the amount of money you have in savings compared with 12 months ago?

Highlights:

  • Millennials (ages 18-29) were nearly twice as likely to say they felt “more comfortable” with their savings than people who were 50 years old and older.
  • Americans who never finished college were nearly twice as likely as college grads to say they felt “less comfortable” with their savings.
  • People living in suburban communities were more than twice as likely as those in rural areas to say they were “more comfortable” with their savings.
How do you feel about the amount of debt you have compared with 12 months ago?

Highlights:

  • 29% of full-time workers said they were “more comfortable” with their debt, compared with 18% of unemployed workers.
  • Among people who attended college, those who never earned a diploma were twice as likely to say they were “less comfortable” with their debt.
  • People with the lowest incomes (under $30,000) were more than twice as likely as those with the highest incomes ($75,000 or higher) to say they were “less comfortable” with debt.
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:

  • 30% of men said their net worth was higher today, compared with 23% of women.
  • 22% of Republicans said their net worth was lower today, compared with 9% of Democrats.
  • 33% of millennials (ages 18-29) said their net worth was higher, compared with 17% of people 65 years old and older.
Compared with 12 months ago, do you feel your overall financial situation is:

Highlights:

  • 35% of men said it was “better today,” compared with 25% of women.
  • 25% of people 65 years old and older said it was “worse today,” compared with 12% of millennials (ages 18-29).
  • 33% of urban dwellers and 31% of suburbanites said it was “better today,” compared with 21% of those who live in rural areas.

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

Financial Security Index