Looming Fiscal Cliff Fails to Shake Year-End Financial Confidence

Americans Divided Over Fate of Their Finances in 2013

Dec 13, 2012, 06:00 ET from COUNTRY Financial

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite year-end uncertainty on Capitol Hill over the "fiscal cliff," Americans are optimistic about their finances this month. The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® jumped 1.1 points to 66.3, a three-year high. Improved confidence in nearly all aspects of financial security powered this uptick. The most significant gains were in overall financial security confidence, the ability to save and college funding.

Looking ahead to next year, Americans are divided over whether financial security is possible without an economic recovery. Thirty-six percent feel they can be financially secure in 2013, even if the national economy doesn't continue to recover. This compares to 34 percent who say no and 30 percent who are unsure. Overall, Americans are split on their 2013 outlook.

  • While 30 percent say 2013 will be better financially for them, an equal number say it will be worse.
  • Another 33 percent say it will be about the same.

This uncertain outlook might be why Americans' top 2013 financial priorities focus on short-term concerns rather than long-term.

  • Twenty-seven percent will work on reducing their debt.
  • Twenty-four percent will boost their savings, up five points from last year.
  • And 13 percent will focus on retirement planning, down four points.

"It's encouraging to see Americans' confidence, especially given the debates in Washington over the fiscal cliff and the financial stress of the holidays," says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. "With Americans split on 2013, many might be preparing for more fiscal uncertainty and redefining what financial security means to them. Periodically revisiting your financial plan can help you stay on track, regardless of the national economic climate."

Financial uncertainty is weighing most heavily on small-business owners. For the reasons why, watch a video interview with Troy Frerichs, a senior investment officer at COUNTRY Financial, at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.

Americans at Odds Over 2013 Outlook
Depending on their income, age and employment, Americans have differing opinions on their 2013 financial security outlook.

  • Lower income earners are less optimistic about their financial prospects than higher wage earners.
  • Eighteen to 29 year olds are the most optimistic, while 40 to 49 year olds are among the most pessimistic.
  • Government workers are the most confident about their finances in 2013, whereas the self-employed are the least confident.

2013 will be better financially than 2012

Can be financially secure in 2013 if the economy does not continue to recover


$20,000 to $40,000 annually



$60,000 to $75,000 annually



Age Groups

Gen Y (18-29 years old)



Gen X (40-49 years old)







Private Sector






"Whether it's your job security or your ability to save on your current income, we all have obstacles impeding our financial security," adds Buhrmann. "Regardless of income, job or age, you can be financially secure. However, you need a financial plan for your specific situation."

To access embeddable data charts and video interviews about the latest COUNTRY Index data, please visit www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com. 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 June 18, 2013 and subsequently every six months.

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index
The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® is a 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 (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.