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Bankrate: Americans' Financial Security Rises Again, But Still Lower Than One Year Ago

NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bankrate.com's (NYSE: RATE) Financial Security Index rose for a second consecutive month in January, but consumers continue to feel less financially secure than they did one year ago. The overall Financial Security Index measured 97.3, up from 95.8 in December and the highest since June's 97.8. Any reading below 100 indicates a lower level of financial security compared with 12 months earlier.

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"Each of the components – job security, savings, debt, net worth and overall financial security – improved over the past month," said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst. "This corresponds with a broader trend of positive economic data in recent weeks. But the overall Financial Security Index is still showing a decline versus one year ago, so ample room for improvement remains. The negative sentiment is highest among retirees and lower-income households."

Job Security

  • Job security turned positive for the first time since May, with 20% of Americans feeling more secure than one year ago and 17% feeling less secure.

Savings

  • Savings is still the Achilles' heel of financial security, with those feeling less comfortable than a year ago (41%) outnumbering those more comfortable (14%) nearly three-to-one.
  • Americans under age 30, college graduates and households with annual income of $75,000 or more continue to be most comfortable with their savings, while households with annual income under $30,000 and the unemployed are least comfortable.

Debt

  • Americans are neutral on debt, with 23% saying they're more comfortable than one year ago and 23% saying they're less comfortable.
  • This is the first time since June that Americans' feelings on debt did not skew towards "less comfortable."

Net Worth

  • Sentiment turned positive for the first time since July, with 24% of Americans reporting higher net worth than one year ago and 22% reporting lower net worth.
  • Those under age 50 are the most likely to report higher net worth than one year ago, whereas those age 50 and up are the most likely to report lower net worth.
  • Households with annual income of $75,000 or more are the most likely to have higher net worth; those with annual income under $30,000 are most likely to report lower net worth.

Overall Financial Situation

  • Americans' overall financial situation is still seen as negative, with 28% saying it is worse than one year ago and 23% saying it is better.
  • The gap between those reporting a worse situation and those reporting a better situation has narrowed each month since October.
  • Only 12% of retirees say their overall financial situation is better now than one year ago.

Holiday Shopping

  • More than half of Americans (56%) spent about what they'd expected this holiday season.
  • Only 17% spent more than expected, while 24% spent less than expected (compared with 19% and 27%, respectively, last year).
  • Households with annual income under $50,000 and those under age 30 were the most likely to say they spent less than expected.

The new study was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/financial-security-poll-0112.aspx.

The PSRAI January 2012 Omnibus Week 1 obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (600) and cell phone (400, including 184 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). Interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source from January 5-8, 2012. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ± 3.9 percentage points.

About Bankrate, Inc.

Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, our flagship website, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsuranceQuotes.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, InsureMe, Bankrate.com.cn, CreditCards.ca, NetQuote.com, and CD.com. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of nearly 600 local markets in all 50 U.S. states, Bankrate generates over 172,000 distinct rate tables capturing on average over three million pieces of information daily. Bankrate develops and provides web services to over 80 co-branded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the Internet such as Yahoo!, AOL, CNBC and Bloomberg. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to over 500 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe.

Ted Rossman
Public Relations Manager
Bankrate, Inc.
[email protected] 
(917) 368-8635

www.bankrate.com

SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.

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