BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans' financial security sentiments inched up in October for the first time in six months. The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® increased 0.7 points to 64.4 this month. This uptick was driven primarily by an increase in confidence about college funding, retirement and the ability to save.
The biggest single gain was in the number of people who say they are confident they have the resources to send their children to college, with a seven-point jump over August to 61 percent. Confidence in the ability to save and enjoy a comfortable retirement both increased two points in October to 45 percent and 55 percent, respectively. However, increases in specific categories are not translating into a sense of long-term confidence yet. Just 36 percent rate their overall financial situation as excellent or good, a three-point drop from August.
"It's encouraging to see people more positive about several aspects of their finances," says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning for COUNTRY Financial. "However, it's not surprising they still remain skeptical about the big picture. Even with the uncertainty, it's important to keep focused on saving for the future, no matter where you're starting from."
Confidence from partnership
Whether it be a spouse or a financial planner, Americans who have someone to help them with money matters and share in the decision making seem to be more positive about their finances.
- Married Americans rating their overall level of financial security as excellent or good increased one point this month to 43 percent. In contrast, just 25 percent of non-married Americans feel the same, a six-point drop from August.
- Similarly, 74 percent of Americans who make financial decisions alone are confident they can pay debts as they come due, down two points from August. However, 83 percent of those who share in decision-making feel the same, up two points this month.
- Americans who work with a financial planner are also more optimistic about their finances. Seventy-two percent say they are confident they will have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement, compared to just 46 percent of those who do not work with a planner.
"It can be difficult to make financial decisions on your own," adds Brannan. "One of the most important things you can do to strengthen your financial plan is to enlist the help of someone you trust."
Full data is available at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.
Individuals can learn more and compare their own results with the national COUNTRY Financial Security Index. The next COUNTRY Financial Security Index will be released December 21, 2010 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 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 (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