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Americans confidence in financial security slips after reaching highest levels since the recession

Many, especially women and millennials, are feeling less financially secure than earlier in the year

Dec. 15, 2015

Americans feel slightly less confident about their financial security than they did six months ago. The negativity follows months of market uncertainty and concerning international developments.  

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index, which gauges American sentiments on personal financial security, tapered off slightly to 66.6 points since reaching its highest levels of confidence in May (66.9). Similar to earlier this year, many don't believe their financial security is improving – 52 percent feel it is staying about the same while 15 percent of respondents feel their level of financial security is getting worse.

Areas where American confidence fell include:

Retirement: Only 16 percent of respondents feel they are likely to have enough money to retire comfortably – a directional change from earlier this year, dropping two percentage points

Debt: Less than three out of four Americans (74 percent) are confident they could pay debts as they come due, dropping from 78 percent six months ago

Stability: Barely half (52 percent) feel confident their family would be able to live comfortably if they were to die or become disabled; that's down nine percentage points from earlier this year

Millennials overwhelmed by debt

While the majority of all Americans feel slightly less positive about their financial security, no one feels more uneasy than millennials.

Just more than a third of this generation (36 percent) feels very confident in their ability to pay their debts as they come due, 11 percent less than the overall population.

"Millennials can become overwhelmed by debt due to student loans and increasing expenses as they move to new cities and enter the job force," said Troy Frerichs, director of wealth management at COUNTRY Financial. "Establishing a payment plan for their current debts can help them get in control of their finances – especially before taking on additional debts to purchase new cars or homes as they start families."

Women feel less confident than men

Although women typically dominate purchasing decisions, they express less confidence in their financial security than men (49 percent of men; 40 percent of women). What's more, only 40 percent of women report setting aside money for savings or investments, compared to 54 percent of men.

Additionally, just half of women (50 percent) feel they will be able to retire comfortably, compared to sixty percent of men.

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 @hellocountry.

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®, 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.