While financial sentiments steadily eroded for most of 2011, Americans ended the year on a more upbeat note. The Country Financial Security Index increased again in December, jumping 1.6 points to 64.8. Americans’ confidence in both their ability to pay debts and their overall financial state, which each rose four points, helped drive this increase.

Despite this optimism, people are split on their fiscal outlooks for the upcoming year. However, they are putting a higher priority on long-term money matters.  

    –  Thirty percent say 2012 will be better than 2011. However, almost an equal number say it will be worse (28 percent) or about the same (32 percent).

    –  Eighteen percent say planning for retirement is the one financial area they will work on most next year, up six points from January.

“News of record holiday spending and declining unemployment could be positively affecting Americans’ financial sentiments,” says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning. “Start the year off right by reviewing your financial plan. Having a detailed plan is the cure for new year uncertainty.” 

To see the lessons Americans learned this year and how they affect 2012 planning, watch a video interview with Brannan at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.