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TheStreet Open House

Americans Cool With Their Finances Despite The Heat

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Aug. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are feeling better about their finances this month than one year ago when their confidence hit an all time low, according to the COUNTRY Financial Security Index ®. The Index inched up 0.8 points to 65.9 in August after slipping 1.1 points in June. This comes exactly one year after the Index reached its lowest reading ever at 62.4. This uptick in confidence also marks the first August increase since 2008 and the highest August Index reading since that year.

Americans were more optimistic about their financial security by every measure. The biggest gains were in long-term financial goals.

  • Those who feel they have enough resources to send their children to college jumped seven points to 61 percent.
  • Another 58 percent are confident in their ability to retire comfortably, up three points.

Further, one in five (20 percent) feel their level of financial security is improving, up two points to the highest level ever. Fifty-two percent were able to save, up one point from June and 10 points from a year ago. Throughout 2012, at least half of Americans have been able to save. This is the first time savings have remained consecutively at 50 percent or higher since 2008.

"We are used to a seasonal dip in confidence in June and August, so it's refreshing to see financial optimism this month," said Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. "Americans have made great strides this year, especially in their ability to set aside money. To maintain this positive momentum, remember to plan ahead and set aside savings for any unexpected obstacles that might set you back."

For a look back at Americans' financial concerns last August and insight into what's changed, watch a video interview with Joe Buhrmann at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com .

Men, Gen Y have sunnier financial outlooksWhen it comes to financial security, men were more optimistic than women this month.

  • The number of men confident they have the resources to send their children to college is up 13 points (68 percent). Just 56 percent of women said the same. However, women's confidence is up three points from June.
  • More men were able to save this month than women (55 percent vs. 48 percent). For men, this number is up five points while women dropped four points.

Eighteen to 29 year olds were the most optimistic overall of any age group.

  • Forty-nine percent rated their overall level of financial security positively. This is a 15-point increase and at least six points higher than other age groups.
  • There was a 12-point jump to 73 percent in those that feel they will have the financial resources to send their children to college. This is at least 14 points higher than all other age groups.

"Younger adults are staying optimistic despite some unsettling economic news recently," said Buhrmann. "With long-term goals like retirement and college funding further away, they're making the most of that time by saving early. However, no matter your age, you need a financial plan to reach your goals."

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