The Consumer Bankers Association and AOL (AOL) monthly Finance Optimism Index fell 3.6 points to -6.2, the organizations said Thursday. An index value below zero indicates that greater number of those who responded to the poll felt pessimistic than optimistic about their personal finances.
Results of the survey suggest April's impending federal income tax deadline combined with other factors, including sluggish job growth and swiftly rising food prices, meant more Americans overall were feeling their budgets squeezed in March.
The CBA and AOL Finance Optimism Index tracks optimism through agreement with four statements in a survey:
- I am optimistic about my personal financial future.
- I am worried about my current financial situation.
- The news I've been hearing in the past few weeks about Americans' personal finances has been generally positive.
- I am worried that the current economic and political situation is going to affect my personal finances.
Another measure, however, showed Americans felt more upbeat. The Conference Board last month said its index of consumer attitudes rose to its highest level since January 2008.
Still, while the Conference Board survey found consumers were more upbeat about the overall economy and employment prospects, findings suggested that Americans were concerned about their ability to earn more money and rising prices.