Consumer Comeback Blog

Consumers Feeling Less Financially Secure Now Than Last Year

A recent Bankrate survey found consumer financial security is at its lowest point all year, with four of the five surveyed categories dropping since last month.

Financial information source Bankrate asked consumers five questions about their financial situations and their perceptions of their financial situations. Questions addressed job security, savings, debt, net worth, and overall financial situation. 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.

Compared to last year, 62% of those surveyed believe they have just as much job security now; 17% feel more secure, 19% feel less secure, and 2% don’t know or chose not to answer. There is some difference in the feeling of job security across political party and racial lines: 29% of black respondents feel more secure now than last year, whereas only 14% of non-Hispanic whites feel the same. One-third of Republicans feel less job security now than they did last year, compared to 10% of Democrats and 17% of Independents.

While 16% of those surveyed feel more comfortable with the amount they have saved than they did last year, 38% feel less comfortable, 43% feel about the same, and 3% aren’t sure or didn’t answer. While 44% of parents with kids younger than 18 are less comfortable with their savings than they were last year, only 35% of people with no minor children feel the same.

People’s positions on their personal debt is slightly better than their thoughts on savings. One-fifth of those surveyed feel more comfortable with their debt than they did last year, while 25% feel less comfortable, 52% feel about the same as they did last year, and 3% didn’t know or didn’t answer. Of people younger than 30, 31% are less comfortable with their debt now than they were last year, compared to 21% of respondents 65 years and older.

The only measure that drew more positive responses than negative ones was people’s assessments of their net worth, which includes real estate equity. One-fourth of people believe their net worth is higher now than it was last year, while half believe it is the same, 23% believe it is lower, and 2% did not answer or don’t know. A gender gap was prevalent on this question—29% of men believe they are worth more now than they were last year, while only 21% of women feel the same.

Overall, 29% believe their financial situation in general is worse now than it was last year, while 22% believe it is better, 48% believe it is about the same, and 1% don’t know or didn’t answer. Young people feel better about their financial situations in general—32% of respondents younger than 30 believe their overall financial situation is better now than last year, compared to 19% of respondents older than 30.