NEW YORK, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bankrate.com's (NYSE: RATE) monthly Financial Security Index hit a new high of 99.9 in April 2012, surpassing the previous high-water mark of 98.5 that was last recorded in May 2011 (the polls began in Dec. 2010). Americans' attitudes regarding their net worth and overall financial situation also reached new highs this month. Sentiment regarding savings improved for a fifth consecutive month, and Americans' comfort level with debt is at its highest point since June 2011.
Despite these positive developments, Americans are still wary of investing in stocks. The poll found that 76% of Americans are not more inclined to invest in the stock market despite near record low savings rates, and merely 18% of Americans are more inclined to invest in stocks today. Another soft spot is job security: 22% of Americans reported less job security than one year ago versus 20% that reported better job security.
"Overall, there are several positives that can be taken from this month's report," said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst. "Americans are feeling better about the money they have in the bank and in their investment portfolios, and they're also feeling better about what they owe. However, job security is still a pain point, and there are plenty of reasons to worry that we might be headed into a third straight weak summer for the economy. The trouble spots include jobs, high gas prices, the ongoing European debt crisis and more."A reading of 100 is considered the Financial Security Index's baseline; any reading above 100 indicates improving financial security compared to one year ago, while any reading below 100 indicates decreasing financial security compared to last year.