Americans Feel Less Financially Secure Than in '08

The latest Citibank Economic Pulse survey found that three years after the downturn began, 44% of Americans feel less financially secure now than they did at the start of the economic downturn in 2008.

Only 10% of consumers reported feeling more financially secure, while 45% reported feeling about the same.   

In addition, the survey found 28% of respondents are concerned about the cost of health care, and 21% are concerned about the security of their retirement accounts. To address their concerns, 30% have changed living arrangements in order to save money, 24% are doing jobs now that they would not have chosen in a better economy, and 24% have decided to postpone retirement.  

A Citibank news release said the top factor cited for financial security today is staying healthy (45%), followed closely by having a secure job (41%). Slightly more than three in ten Americans (32%) cited avoiding debt, but other factors such as having an emergency fund (17%), owning your own home (16%), and having a college degree (15%) were noted.   

When it comes to staying financially secure in today’s economy, nearly a third of Americans (32%) believe that being their own boss is best. Working for a large corporation (24%) and the federal government (21%) are also viewed as safer employment options than working for a small business (17%) or for a state or local government (15%).  

In Citibank’s quarterly surveys, the percentage of consumers who believe things are forever changed has steadily increased from 51% in September 2010 to 52% in January 2011, 54% in April 2011, and 57% today.