COUNTRY Financial Security Index

Americans’ Wallets Aren’t Ready For The Holiday Shopping Season

Dec. 11, 2014

The weaker-than-expected start to the holiday shopping season might have less to do with the quality of the deals than the struggling state of many Americans’ savings.

Since its inception in 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index® continues to track a downward trend in Americans’ ability to save. The most recent index reveals just 42 percent of Americans were able to set aside money for savings or investments over the past two months. That’s down from a pre-recession saving rate of 55 percent in October 2007.

  • The most savings strapped are Americans age 40 to 49, with only 32 percent of them saying they were able to set aside money in advance of the holidays.

Americans might be paying down debt with the funds they do have. Seventy-five percent of Americans were confident in their ability to pay down debts as they are due.

  • Millennials don’t seem as hopeful, with about 62 percent of 18 to 29 year olds expressing confidence in their ability to pay down debts.

Having less debt may be making Americans more positive about their financial security heading into the New Year. A quarter of survey respondents say their financial security is getting better, up five points since June this year. Overall, Americans’ financial confidence is holding steady as 42 percent rate their financial security as excellent or good, a slight increase from 41 percent in June of 2014.

“With a holiday shopping season that’s lasting longer each year, Americans might find themselves facing more pressure, and temptation, than before,” says Troy Frerichs, director of Investments-Wealth Management at COUNTRY Financial. “Your holiday shopping shouldn’t be determined by the best deals, but rather by your level of savings. The holidays are an opportunity to spend more time with friends and family, and they don’t have to be an occasion to overspend.”

The Financial Security Salary Threshold

On a majority of key financial security measures, Americans with a household income of $50,000 or more are more confident and optimistic.

            Income  
  $30,000 – $50,000 $50,000 – $100,000 $100,000 – $175,000
Rate their financial security as excellent/good 20 percent 48 percent 62 percent
Rate their financial security as getting better 16 percent 24 percent 34 percent
Able to set aside money for savings or investments 30 percent 48 percent 59 percent

 

“Americans have the fundamentals in place to achieve financial security,” adds Frerichs. “It’s great to see that a growing number are optimistic. Establishing a budget for holiday expenses, as well as a long-term plan, can help people get their savings back on track as we head into the New Year.”

 

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans’ sentiments of their personal financial security. The 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 Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by GfK, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using GfK’s KnowledgePanel TM, a national, probability-based panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from approximately 1,000 U.S. adults for national surveys. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About COUNTRY Financial

The COUNTRY Financial group (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, business and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.