A better housing market, improved employment picture and higher stock prices have folks feeling more financially secure than they did a month or a year ago, according to Bankrate.com‘s (NASDAQ:RATE) latest monthly survey.
True, it might be only the slimmest of silver linings, but with the relentless procession of bad news about Americans’ pending retirements, we’ll take it.
The latest reading of the Financial Security Index hit 101.5 in March, the highest level since Bankrate started the survey at the end of 2010.
The latest reading represents only the third time in the survey’s history that respondents were feeling more financially secure versus the year-ago period, and was the second-biggest month-to-month gain, too. Indeed, the survey hasn’t jumped this much from one month to the next in almost two years.
See the last year’s worth of readings, courtesy of Bankrate, below:
As for the baby boomers — that cohort of 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who are just starting to retire — they’re still plenty worried, but the latest survey data did show some improvement in their fortunes.
About a quarter of boomers surveyed said their financial situation has improved versus a year ago — up from 20% last year.
On the other side of the questionnaire, about 25% of boomers said they were financially worse off than a year ago. That’s a decent drop from the year-ago period in which a third of respondents between the ages of 50 and 64 said they were feeling worse off financially.
When it comes to financial security and impending retirements, boomers need all the help they can get. As InvestorPlace’s Marc Bastow writes, folks have a heap of worries about what their retirements futures have in store.
According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual survey, the vast majority of American’s are fearful that they won’t be able to afford to retire.
Then there’s a recent study by LearnVest, which showed that men and women, on average, say they’ll need $1.5 million to retire comfortably — yet they have an average of only $185,000 in retirement savings. Even worse, 80% of those surveyed don’t even have a retirement plan in place.
No, the latest data on boomers’ slight improvement in financial security might not amount to much in the bigger — and ugly — retirement picture.
But at least it’s one data point that didn’t get worse.