Washington, D.C. – The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) and AOL Inc. (AOL) monthly Finance Optimism Index has found a decrease in consumer optimism. In March 2014, the index dropped for the second month in a row to -6.2, a decline of 3.6. This came as a result of Americans becoming more concerned about their current personal financial situation. With the impending Federal Income Tax filing deadline in April, consumers were likely taking stock of their financial situation and potentially facing a looming tax bill. This follows sluggish job growth and swiftly rising food prices, meaning many Americans are feeling the squeeze on their budgets.
Together with the CBA, AOL has been conducting research to better understand consumer attitudes about their finances. The Index is measured continuously with results calculated and reported monthly at FinanceOptimism.org.
The Finance Optimism Index tracks optimism through agreement with four 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 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 two-thirds 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.
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.