Survey Finds Consumer Spending Tight Despite Financial Security

Stagnant income growth and uncertainties about the economy’s future have spurred more Americans to putting a tight lid on their monthly spending, according to a new poll.
In survey findings released Tuesday, Bankrate.com reported that two-thirds of American consumers are now limiting how much they spend each month. Of those who have had to draw their purse strings tighter, 32 percent cited stagnant income as the main reason, while 29 percent said they need to save more. Sixteen percent cited worries about the economy in general.
“Sustainable growth in household income is the missing ingredient from this economic recovery and the leading culprit for why consumers are holding back on monthly spending,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “Worries about the economy have dissipated somewhat over the past year while consumers’ desire to forego additional spending in order to save more has increased.”
Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 are the most likely right now to limit their monthly spending, according to Bankrate. The company notes Americans in that age range are in their prime years for buying a house or a car or starting a family.
What’s more, millennials—whose population makes up the majority of first-time homebuyers—were the most likely to cite the need to save more money as their primary reason for spending less.
Bankrate also reported Tuesday the results of its Financial Security Index, which increased for a second month in October to 101, its highest reading since June. Readings above 100 indicate improved financial security compared to the year prior.
Survey respondents indicated improvement in four of the five index components over the past year, with their job security, net worth, comfort level with debt, and overall financial situation all coming up.
The only indicator to see a decline was consumers’ comfort level with their savings, with one-third now saying they’re not happy with how much they have saved.

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