Bankrate's monthly survey of six questions measures how secure Americans feel about their personal finances compared to 12 months ago. From Dec. 6-9, 2012, telephone interviews with 1,001 adults living in the continental U.S. were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The results of Bankrate's Financial Security Index have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. This month, the index dropped to 95.6, the lowest of 2012.
- 74% younger than 30 have not made cutbacks. This is true of 62% of those 30 and older.
- 23% of college grads have cut back on spending, versus 43% with a high school education at most.
- 43% of those earning less than $30,000 a year have made cutbacks, compared to 28% of higher earners.
- 29% of rural dwellers feel more job security now than a year ago, versus 14% of urban and suburban respondents.
- 20% of Democrats, 17% of Independents and 8% of Republicans report improved job security.
- 24% of those earning less than $50,000 feel more secure, versus 12% of higher earners.
- 23% of those making $75,000 or more say they're more comfortable with savings this year, versus 10% of lower earners.
- 48% of those with a high school diploma at most say they're less comfortable with savings, versus 34% of college grads.
- 18% of respondents younger than 30 are more comfortable with savings compared to a year ago. Just 8% of those older than 65 report the same.
- 33% of black respondents say they're less comfortable with debt than a year ago, compared to 23% of white respondents.
- 27% of those with at least some college education are more comfortable with debt; 14% of those with less education agree.
- 13% of those earning $75,000 or more are less comfortable with debt, compared to 30% of those earning less.
- 26% of men report a higher net worth this year than 12 months ago, compared to 19% of women.
- 29% of those with a high school diploma or less report a lower net worth, compared to 20% of those with higher education.
- 28% of Republicans say their net worth is lower today, as do 17% of Democrats.
- 27% of men say they're better off today than 12 months ago, compared to 20% of women.
- 29% of nonwhite respondents say they're better off overall, versus 21% of white respondents.
- 36% of those earning less than $30,000 say they're worse off, compared to 18% earning $75,000 or more.
Bankrate's Financial Security Index gauges how Americans feel today versus a year ago on vital financial matters. An index value of less than 100 indicates declining levels of financial security; a value greater than 100 reveals higher levels of security compared to 12 months ago.
More From Bankrate.com