Financial confidence heats up this summer


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Maybe it’s because the overextended winter has finally broken, but Bankrate’s Financial Security Index hit a new high this month. In June, the index jumped 2.5 points from the month before — up to 102.7. Not only is this the record high for the index, it is also the first time the index has remained in positive territory for four months straight. Financial Security Index
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index gauges how Americans feel today versus a year ago on vital financial matters. An index value of less than 100 indicates declining levels of financial security; a value greater than 100 reveals higher levels of security compared to 12 months ago.

Specifically, consumers are feeling more secure in their jobs, are more comfortable with their debt, are reporting a higher net worth and say their overall financial situations are better.

There was one area of the index that did report a dip, though, and that is the comfort level of savings. In our survey, those less comfortable outnumbered those more comfortable by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1.

Our question this month concerning the amount of emergency savings consumers had only backed up why respondents felt this way. More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) said they have no emergency savings whatsoever, up from 24 percent in 2011 and barely changed from last year (at 28 percent).

Just 24 percent of Americans said they have enough savings to cover at least six months’ expenses, which also barely changed compared to previous years.

Each of the changes was within the margin of error of our survey, highlighting how little progress Americans have made in moving the needle of emergency savings.

As vacations approach, a tip to Americans might be to spend less on getting out of town and sock away some of that play money for a proverbial rainy day.

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