Americans’ Finance Optimism Ends 2014 in Neutral Territory

The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) and AOL Inc. (AOL) monthly Finance Optimism Index rose 2.2 points month over month to end 2014 at 0.0. Together with the CBA, AOL has been conducting research to better understand consumer attitudes about their finances.  Throughout the year the Index has fluctuated across positive and negative territory, mainly staying in the red before trending upward since October.
Specifically, 69 percent of survey respondents remained optimistic about their personal financial futures, while a slight uptick of 21 percent were pessimistic. In addition, 8 percent more respondents felt news about consumers’ personal finances had been positive over the month of December.

“Americans saw lower gas prices into the end of 2014 bringing about a more optimistic view of how their personal finances looked. Though the Index is neutral for the year, consumers will remain divided on their outlook until positive economic signals continue for an extended period of time,” said Richard Hunt, President and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association.
 
The Finance Optimism Index tracks optimism through agreement with 4 statements in a survey: 

  1. I am optimistic about my personal financial future.
  2. I am worried about my current financial situation.
  3. The news I’ve been hearing in the past few weeks about Americans’ personal finances has been generally positive.
  4. I am worried that the current economic and political situation is going to affect my personal finances.

The Index is calculated as the percentage of respondents who are optimistic minus the percentage of respondents who are pessimistic. Index values above 0 indicate more respondents felt optimistic than pessimistic, and Index values below 0 indicate more respondents felt pessimistic than optimistic. Survey questions are asked to a random national sample of approximately 1,600 U.S. Online Adults Ages 18+ every month in the AOL/Ipsos MediaCT Brand Tracking Survey.
Other indexes that track consumer sentiment focus on economic and business conditions, with less emphasis on how Americans perceive their own personal financial situation. The Finance Optimism Index differs in that it measures the level of financial optimism of individual Americans through their responses to four survey questions and explores factors that influence these attitudes.  

The Index is measured continuously with results calculated and reported monthly at FinanceOptimism.org.

About CBA 

Founded in 1919, the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) is the trade association for today's leaders in retail banking - banking services geared toward consumers and small businesses. The nation's largest financial institutions, as well as many regional banks, are CBA corporate members, collectively holding well over half of the industry's total assets. CBA’s mission is to preserve and promote the retail banking industry as it strives to fulfill the financial needs of the American consumer and small business.

About AOL 

AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a brand company, committed to continuously innovating, growing, and investing in brands and experiences that inform, entertain, and connect the world. The home of a world-class collection of premium brands, AOL creates original content that engages audiences on a local and global scale. We help marketers connect with these audiences through effective and engaging digital advertising solutions.

 

The Consumer Bankers Association is the recognized voice on retail banking issues in the nation’s capital. Founded in 1919, CBA provides leadership, education, research and federal representation on retail banking issues. For more information, please contact Tom Crosson, tcrosson@consumerbankers.com, (703) 869-1246 or visit www.consumerbankers.com.