Nearly four in 10 Americans (38%) plan to spend less this holiday season than they did last year, according to a new Bankrate.com (NYSE: RATE) report. Only 14% plan to spend more this year and 47% plan to spend about the same amount as last year.
Americans planning to spend less outnumber those planning to spend more in each age and income group; the disparity increases with age. Households with income less than $50,000 are the most likely to say they plan to spend less this year.
“Many Americans continue to struggle with little or no savings and stagnant wages, forcing them to rein in their spending this holiday season,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst. “Overall, Americans are feeling more financially secure after the government shutdown and debt ceiling saga were resolved, but many are still clutching their pocketbooks closely.”
Americans’ feelings of financial security are now at their highest level since August. They are in positive territory for each age group under age 65. Overall, 25% of Americans feel better about their finances than they did last year and 18% feel worse.
Bankrate.com’s Financial Security Index registered a 100.4 in December; readings above 100 indicate improved financial security compared with one year previous. The index dipped into negative territory in September, October and November, due in large part to the uncertainty in Washington.
Feelings of job security turned positive in December for the first time since September, completely unwinding the negative sentiment of the past two months. Net worth continues to be a strong area of financial security: those reporting higher net worth than one year ago outnumber those reporting lower net worth by a margin of three-to-two.
Savings is the only area of financial security that has elicited negative feelings every month since the poll debuted in December 2010.
The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here: