For the third straight month, Americans are feeling much, much better about the economy, according to the COUNTRY Financial Security Index.
What's driving the optimism? Higher savings rate and the feeling that all those bills that piled up can be successful dealt with, pushed the reading up one point to 65.8, the highest level since December 2009.
Half of Americans said they were able to set aside money for savings, up six points to a three-year high; 80 percent are confident in their ability to pay debts, up three points since December, and the highest since December 2008.
Overall, those polled say their financial security increased two points to 41 percent. Confidence in the ability to retire comfortably rose three points to 58 percent — both of those scores are the highest since December 2009.
The 30-somethings are particularly positive. Of all the age groups, 30 to 39 year-olds showed the largest uptick in their confidence this month.
Fifty eight percent were able to set aside money for savings, a 15-point jump. Sixty-one percent are confident in their ability to retire comfortably, an increase of eight points. Middle income earners also are resting easier.
Forty-eight percent of those with an annual household income of $60,000-$75,000 and 53 percent with an income of $75,000-$100,000 rate their overall financial security positively, up five and nine points from December, respectively.
"It's been a while since Americans were feeling this optimistic. Steady improvements since September could signal people are breaking the recession mindset," said Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning at COUNTRY Financial, in a prepared statement.
"Now's the time to create or revisit a financial plan that addresses both short- and long-term goals, which can help maintain this optimism."
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