Concerns among Americans about their savings accounts helped deteriorate financial security for the first time in four months, according to a February reading by Bankrate.com.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index shows that consumers dealt with a wave of financial jitters in February. The index, which is based on a consumer survey about debt, job security, net worth and other issues, indicated a drop in financial security for the first time since October.
The FSI reading of 99.3 was a drop of 3.2 percent from January’s survey, though it’s 2.6 percent higher than the same period last year. Any reading below 100 indicates that financial security declined compared with one year ago.
“The rocky start to the year in the stock market and a run of less-than-stellar economic readings have put a dent in consumers’ feelings of financial security,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.
McBride says the comfort level among Americans with their debt and overall financial situation slipped from the consistently improved readings consumers had cited over the past 12 months. Consumers’ comfort level with their savings also dropped to the lowest level in a year. More than twice as many people said they were less comfortable with their savings than those who were more comfortable.
Overall, people from urban and suburban communities were more likely than people from rural areas to report that they felt better about their financial situation. Retirees were less likely than others to say they felt better about their financial situation.
The FSI is based on a telephone survey of 1,004 people. The survey is conducted every month by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
If you think your savings could use a boost, take a look at the savings rates at Bankrate.com.