Americans’ confidence in their financial condition waned in December, according to a monthly poll commissioned by Bankrate.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index slipped to 101.1 from the 103.4 it recorded in November, which was its highest level since June.
The monthly index is a gauge of the country’s overall confidence.
Americans’ feelings about job security improved, but readings on the other 4 components of the index — their comfort levels on savings, debt, net worth and their overall financial situation — declined compared to the previous month.
Still, 4 of the 5 components improved when compared with a year ago. Only savings did not.
“Americans’ comfort level with savings continues to be a weak spot of financial security,” 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 Dec. 3-6, 2015, to 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
Highlights: When was the last time you visited a bank branch or credit union branch to conduct personal financial business?
- Nearly half of Americans (45%) have visited a bank or credit union branch in the past 30 days, not including the use of an ATM.
- More than 1 in 4 Americans (26%) have visited a bank branch in the past week.
- The tendency to use a bank branch in the past 30 days was similar across age groups, ranging from 41% for millennials to 48% for those ages 50-64.
Highlights: Compared with last year, how secure is your job?
- 11% of men say they’re less secure about their jobs, compared with 18% of women.
- Democrats (37%) are more likely than Republicans (14%) to feel more secure about their jobs.
- 16% of the 30-49 age group and 20% of the 50-64 age group say they feel less secure about their jobs, compared with 5% of the 18-29 age group.
Highlights: Compared with last year, how do you feel about your savings?
- 22% of respondents ages 18-29 said they feel more comfortable about their savings, compared with 12% of those ages 50-64.
- Women (32%) were likely to feel less comfortable with their savings than men (26%).
- Republicans (39%) were likely to feel less comfortable with their savings than Democrats (23%).
Highlights: How do you feel about your debt compared with last year?
- Those at the far ends of the age categories — 18-29 (16%) and 65+ (14%) — say they feel less comfortable with their debt than those in the middle — 30-49 and 50-64, at 20% each.
- Those in the highest-income group ($75,000+) were likely to feel more comfortable (29%) with their debt than those in the 3 lower-income groups (18%, 17%, 12%).
- Respondents in the South (20%) and West (19%) said they feel less comfortable about their debt level, a higher percentage than in the Midwest and Northeast (each at 16%).
- Respondents ages 30-49 were more likely (29%) to say their net worth is higher today than any other age group — 18-29 (23%), 50-64 (20%) and 65+ (17%).
- Those earning $75,000 or more (40%) and those earning $50,000 to $74,999 (31%) were more than twice as likely to say their net worth is higher today compared with those with incomes of less than $30,000 (14%).
- 28% of men said their net worth is higher, compared with 18% of women.
Highlights: How would you describe your overall financial situation compared with a year ago?
- 29% of rural respondents and 24% of suburban respondents said their financial situation is worse off today, compared with only 15% of urban respondents.
- Respondents in the 2 younger age groups — 18-29 (37%) and 30-49 (31%) — were more likely to say their financial situation is better, compared with those ages 50-64 (20%) and 65+ (11%).
- Republicans (30%) were twice as likely to say their overall financial situation was worse today than Democrats (14%).
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.