BLOOMINGTON — Consumers have a more upbeat outlook, according to a recent Country Financial survey.
The Bloomington-based insurer’s bimonthly consumer confidence index ended at 65.9 last month, up from 62.4 in August 2011. The uptick also marks the first August increase since 2008.
“Last year at this time we had a huge debate in the U.S. government; the credit score had just been downgraded,” said Joe Buhrmann, Country Financial manager of financial security support. He added that more Americans are gaining control of their finances this year by creating financial plans.
The survey of 3,000 adults showed that one in five people feel their financial security is improving, up two percentage points from June.
The biggest gains took place in long-term financial goals. Those who feel they have enough resources to send their children to college jumped seven percentage points, from 54 percent in June to 61 percent last month. Of those surveyed, 58 percent indicated they are confident they will be able to retire comfortably.
The boost is also good for the economy, said Buhrmann.
“The economy is driven by consumer spending. If folks aren’t feeling that great, they hunker down and don’t spend as much,” said Buhrmann. And usually those who have a financial plan in place generally have more confidence than those who don’t, he said.