Americans rang in 2014 with a bang as financial security increased to the highest level in seven months, according to a January reading by Bankrate.com.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index shows that consumers were more likely to feel better rather than worse about their overall financial situation compared with 12 months ago. Its first reading of the year, based on a telephone survey of 1,005 people, increased for the third month to 102.6. That’s the highest reading since June and a 4.1 percent increase from the same time last year.
Any reading above 100 indicates improved financial security compared with one year ago.
“Improvement was seen most prominently in consumers’ comfort level with debt and feelings about overall financial situation,” says Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.
McBride said consumers noted improvement over the past year on job security, debt, net worth and overall financial situation. “Only those aged 65-plus are more likely to say their financial situation is worse rather than better today,” he added.
Younger respondents felt the most comfortable with their levels of savings and debt. Among those between 18 and 29 years old, 30 percent said they were happy with the current size of their nest egg. The same portion said they were also more comfortable with the amount of debt they’re carrying around compared with 12 months ago.
Respondents who were more educated and received higher salaries also showed a higher confidence with their finances.
“Among income groups, only the lowest income households are more inclined to say their overall financial situation is worse today than one year ago,” McBride said.
If you think your savings could use a boost, take a look at the savings rates at Bankrate.com.