Americans' Financial Security Stuck in Neutral COUNTRY Index: Americans Settling Into New Economic Reality in First Half of Year

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With mixed signals on the economy coming from Main Street to Wall Street, perhaps it is not surprising that Americans' financial security sentiments seems to be idling since the end of 2012. The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® dipped 0.4 points to 65.9 this month from 66.3 in December 2012.

Although Americans' fiscal confidence has not drastically improved, many have stayed optimistic since the beginning of 2012.

  • From February 2012 to June 2013, the number of people rating their overall level of financial security positively has stalled at 39 percent. This is the longest period confidence has remained above 39 percent since February 2009.
  • The number of Americans able to save has also remained higher than 50 percent for the same 16-month period.               

"With stocks rising, but employment and paychecks stagnating, the economy is struggling to gain momentum. Americans might also be stuck in neutral as they settle into this new economic reality," says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. "Americans might need to update their financial plans, but sticking to their goals is what will help keep them on track."

Despite getting off to a slow start in 2013, Americans are more optimistic about their finances than they were a year ago. Further, this month marks the highest June Index reading since 2008.


June '13

December '12

June '12

Index

65.9

66.3

65.1

Rate overall level of financial security positively

44%

44%

39%

Have enough money to retire comfortably

58%

58%

54%

Have the resources to send children to college

59%

59%

54%

Boom and Doom
Not all Americans' optimism has held steady in 2013. Those nearing retirement (ages 50-64) are more pessimistic about their financial security.

  • At 38 percent, Baby Boomers were the least likely of any age group to rate their financial security positively. This is down two points from December.
  • Those confident in their ability to send their children to college plunged 10 points to 47 percent.
  • Another 77 percent are confident in their ability to pay off debts, down three points.

"Having weathered the Great Recession and inching closer to retirement, it's understandable that Baby Boomers' financial confidence is shaken," adds Buhrmann. "They may want to perform a financial tune up to make sure their financial goals are on track."

The Power of Two
Married Americans are more confident in all aspects of their financial security, compared to their unwed counterparts. Forty-nine percent of married Americans rate their overall level of financial security positively, compared to 36 percent of unmarried Americans.

  • Married couples are also more confident in their ability to retire comfortably (63 vs. 51 percent).
  • They are also more likely to save (56 vs. 47 percent) and say their financial security is getting better (24 vs. 18 percent).

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The COUNTRY Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at www.countryfinancialsecurityblog.com and on Twitter at @FinanceSecure.

The COUNTRY Index was created by COUNTRY Financial  and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent research firm, based on a national telephone and online survey of at least 3,000 Americans. 

The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About COUNTRY
COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.

SOURCE COUNTRY Financial



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