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Americans Feeling More Financially Secure: Bankrate Index

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Americans feel better about their job security, debt levels, net worth and overall financial situation than they did a year ago, according to’s financial security index for April.

They are not without anxiety, however, as many are concerned about their savings levels.

The financial security index score for April was 102. It was based on a telephone poll of 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S.

Any reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the previous 12 months, according to Bankrate.

The index has shown improvement for 11 consecutive months, though the latest reading was slightly lower than those in the first quarter.

“The feelings on job security, net worth and overall financial security weren’t as strong as last month, following a disappointingly weak jobs report and a choppy stock market,” according to Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.

The survey found that among college graduates, 35% were more inclined to invest in the stock market, compared with 11% of those who had never attended college.

Similarly, people with bigger salaries were more inclined to invest than those with a lower income, and men were likelier to do so than women.

Millennials Thrive

Overall, 23% of employed Americans said they felt better about their job security now versus April 2014.

Thirty-two percent of employed millennials reported higher job security relative to a year ago, and just 4% reported lower job security.

Baby boomers, on the other hand, were five times likelier than millennials to feel less secure about their jobs.

Residents of the South were about twice as likely as those in the Midwest and Northeast to feel secure about their jobs, and Democrats said they felt more secure than Republicans.

In total, 20% of Americans said they felt better about their savings.

Thirty percent of millennials said their savings were in better shape now than a year ago, double the number who were less comfortable with their savings. In contrast, only 13% of those ages 50 and older felt better about their savings.

People with higher education, those with income above $50,000 a year and urban and suburban dwellers were likelier to feel more comfortable about their savings than their less-educated counterparts, and those earning less than $30,000 and living in rural areas.

Similarly, debt was more or less burdensome depending people’s employment status and whether they had graduated college. Midwesterners were more comfortable with their debt than residents of the Northeast.

Thirty-three percent of millennials reported that their overall financial situation was better than 12 months ago, while 16% said it had deteriorated. As with savings, the 50-and-older segment felt worse, with just 19% are reporting a better overall financial situation.

Net worth was the only category in which millennials lagged behind other age groups. Twenty-nine percent of those in the 30–49 age group reported a higher net worth than a year ago, but only 18% of millennials said that.

“While millennials are doing pretty well financially, their net worth is being held back because they aren’t as invested as older adults in the stock and housing markets,” McBride said.

The survey found that respondents with the highest incomes were about four times likelier than those with the lowest incomes to say they had a higher net worth. Republicans were nearly twice as likely as Democrats to claim a lower net worth.

— Check out Investor Confidence Rises for Institutions, but Individuals Disagree on ThinkAdvisor.


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