While there was an increased in financial security, Americans are focused on their bills, debt and saving.
Financial Security among Americans increased in October for the third consecutive month, according to a monthly consumer spending trends survey by Bankrate.com.
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index pushed past the 100 measurement benchmark (101.3, the highest level since June) which indicates improved financial security. But comfort level with savings deteriorated over the past year.
While there was an increased in financial security, no matter how slight, Americans are focused on their bills, debt and saving. Among those who did not increase their spending last month, the highest percentage attributed the reason to their stagnant income (32 percent), followed by those who said they needed to save more (29 percent).
Four-in-ten respondents said that getting up on their bills or staying current on their living expenses is their top financial priority (up from 36 percent in 2013). Nearly one-fourth (22 percent) reported that their top financial priority is paying down debt (up from 20 percent last year).
Job security is up, the Bankrate.com survey finds, but there is more trepidation about the amount of money being saved now compared with 12 months ago. One-third of respondents said they are less comfortable, though half feel about the same. Forty percent of Baby Boomers reported feeling less comfortable with their current level of savings compared with 24 percent of Millennials.
On the plus side, a majority of respondents (54 percent) feel neither more nor less comfortable about their debt level compared to last year with 23 percent reporting they feel more comfortable and 20 percent feeling less.
While half report their financial situation is about the same this year as last, 26 percent said that it is better, compared with 22 percent who said it is worse. Not surprisingly, full-time employees and those with a college education were more likely than those who are unemployed or did not attend college were more likely to report their financial situation had improved compared with a year ago.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.