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January 22, 2013 at 08:30 AM EST
Many Americans Pulled Back on Holiday Spending as Their Financial Security Continued to Lag

NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-eight percent of Americans spent less than expected this holiday season while just 16% spent more than expected, according to new research published today by Bankrate.com (NYSE: RATE). This was consistent across most age groups, with only those under age 30 slightly more inclined to have spent more than expected.

Bankrate also announced that its Financial Security Index jumped three points to 98.6 in January (the biggest increase in 13 months) following a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. However, this is still lower than the October reading of 99.2 and is consistent with Americans' long-term feelings of deteriorating financial security. When the Financial Security Index is below 100, it indicates that Americans' financial security is lower than one year previous. The index has been below 100 in 24 of the 26 months since its inception in Dec. 2010.

"These results illustrate that the fiscal cliff was hardly the only headwind impacting the U.S. economy," said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst. "Yes, the resolution brought some temporary relief, but the economy continues to plod along in first gear. It's going to take sustained, substantive job growth in order for Americans to feel considerably better about their financial security."

Additional Highlights:

  • Americans' sentiment regarding their job security, savings, net worth and overall financial situation all posted increases over the past month. Job security and net worth have improved relative to one year ago.
  • Higher-income and more educated households were the most inclined to report higher net worth than one year ago.
  • The reading on Americans' comfort level with debt was unchanged from one month ago.
  • Savings remains a sore spot: more than one-third of Americans are less comfortable with their savings now compared to 12 months ago, but just 13% are more comfortable. This disparity is evident across all age and income brackets.
  • When Bankrate asked the same holiday spending question one year ago, 24% of Americans spent less than expected and 17% spent more. Two years ago, 27% spent less than expected and 19% spent more.

The new survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/financial-security-charts-0113.aspx

PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (501) and cell phone (502, including 241 without a landline phone). Interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source from January 3-6, 2013. 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 3.6 percentage points.

About Bankrate, Inc.

Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, our flagship website, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsuranceQuotes.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, InsureMe, Bankrate.com.cn, CreditCards.ca, NetQuote.com, and CD.com. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of nearly 600 local markets in all 50 U.S. states, Bankrate generates over 172,000 distinct rate tables capturing on average over three million pieces of information daily. Bankrate develops and provides web services to over 80 co-branded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the Internet such as Yahoo!, AOL, CNBC, and Bloomberg. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to over 500 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

For more information:

Ted Rossman
Public Relations Manager
Bankrate, Inc.
ted.rossman@bankrate.com
(917) 368-8635

SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.

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