New Bankrate poll reveals how Americans feel about their finances

With personal debt continuing to mount, Americans are feeling even less secure about their finances this month and struggling to find funds to cover expenses.  A new study released by Bankrate, Inc. shows that that 19% of Americans have admitted to tapping into retirement funds over the past 12 months to cover emergencies. The poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, can be seen in its entirety here: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/april-2011-raiding-retirement-fund.aspx.

Among the findings:

  • One in three Americans (33%) says their overall financial situation is worse than 12 months ago.
  • Feelings of financial security among Americans, as measured by the Financial Security Index, sank to a new low of 93.5, down from 97.0 in March and below the previous low of 94.6 in December.
  • The percentage of Americans who are more comfortable with their debt has fallen 3 months in a row (Jan: 27%, Feb: 26%, Mar: 24%, April: 18%).
  • Seven percent of Americans admit to not having any retirement savings.

“Raiding the retirement account prematurely depletes the nest egg, subjects the individual to taxes and penalties, and deals a permanent setback to retirement security because you can never go back and make up for those early withdrawals,” said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

Bankrate’s Financial Security Index results are based on telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,004 adults, ages 18 and older. The interviews were conducted from April 7 to April 10, 2011, by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

About Bankrate, Inc.

The Bankrate network of companies includes Bankrate.com, Interest.com, Mortgage-calc.com, Nationwide Card Services, Fee Disclosure, InsureMe CreditCardGuide.com and Bankaholic.  Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company’s flagship brand, Bankrate.com is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. Bankrate.com is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Bankrate.com reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. In 2008, Bankrate.com had nearly 72 million unique visitors. Bankrate.com provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), America Online (NYSE: TWX), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (NYSE: NYT). Bankrate.com’s information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers.  Bankrate, Inc. was acquired by Apax Partners, one of the world’s leading private equity investment group, in September 2009.  Apax operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. For more information on Apax, visit: www.Apax.com.

Kayleen Yates
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Bankrate, Inc.
Ph. (917) 368-8677
kyates@bankrate.com

Web Site: http://www.bankrate.com

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