Americans' Financial Confidence Struggling to Gain Momentum

COUNTRY Index: Americans Take "Wait and See" Approach Amidst Ongoing Economic Uncertainty

Oct 18, 2012, 06:00 ET from COUNTRY Financial

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- While Americans will soon decide the nation's next president, they are still undecided about their financial security. The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® seesawed again for the fifth time in 2012. The bi-monthly measure of financial confidence slipped 0.7 points to 65.2 in October, giving up virtually all of the 0.8 points it gained in August.

The October reading continues a yearlong pattern of wavering optimism, which mirrors the uncertain state of our nation's economic recovery. The COUNTRY Index has not had two consecutive months of gains or declines. Rather, it has fluctuated within a narrow one-point range throughout 2012.


Index Reading

October 2012


August 2012


June 2012


April 2012


February 2012


Confidence in nearly all aspects of financial security is down slightly. Despite this month's declines, Americans are maintaining a positive outlook on their finances. Nearly one in four (22 percent) feel their level of financial security is getting better, up two points to its highest level in the survey's history.

"With Election Day nearing, campaign commercials and stump speeches are focused on the state of voters' pocketbooks, but Americans' financial security confidence has yet to find its footing," says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. "Americans might be taking a 'wait and see' approach to the economy. However, they can take steps today to reach their financial goals before casting their vote, like revisiting their financial plan to get their bearings and making the necessary changes to how much they're saving."

For insight into how elections historically impact the stock market, watch a video interview with Troy Frerichs, senior investment officer at COUNTRY Financial, at

College/Savings on the Decline
Confidence in college funding and the ability to save dropped the most this month. Those confident they will have the financial resources to send their children to college slid five points to 56 percent. Further, 50 percent were able to save, a two-point decrease from August.

Gen Y Sentiments Fall Far
Compared to other age groups whose sentiments remained relatively stable this month, financial security confidence among 18 to 29 year olds fell significantly.

  • In the short-term, those able to save (52 percent) and those who rate their level of financial security positively (42 percent) both dropped seven points.
  • Confidence in long-term obligations like retirement (57 percent) and college savings (51 percent) plunged nine points and 23 points, respectively.

"With such pronounced swings in their sentiments, this age group's financial stability seems to be particularly vulnerable," adds Buhrmann. "However, in August, younger Americans showed they're committed to paying off debts and saving for long-term goals. Finding ways to better prioritize their savings, perhaps even meeting with a professional, might help them create lasting financial security."

To access embeddable data charts and video interviews about the latest COUNTRY Index data, please visit Individuals can also learn more and compare their own results with the national COUNTRY Financial Security Index. The next COUNTRY Financial Security Index will be released December 18, 2012 and subsequently every other month.

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index
The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® is a bi-monthly measure of Americans' sentiments toward their overall financial security. It is an aggregate of various factors comprising financial security including savings and investments, financial planning, retirement, education and asset protection.

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.

COUNTRY Financial ( 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.