Consumers’ financial optimism declines in 2010, says Country Financial

After a holiday season that saw more spending and an increased consumer sentiment regarding their finances than many experts had expected, a new report by Country Financial has found that much of the optimism has dissipated in the new year.

The latest Country Financial Security Index for February documented a 3.2 point decline to 63.1. The point drop was the largest one ever documented by the index in its history, and was attributed primarily to a decreased ability to save money and an increased worry from some consumers that they may not be able to afford their home or car.

“We do tend to see a drop in sentiments early in the year as the holiday cheer subsides and credit card bills from those festivities come due,” says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning for Country Financial. “This year’s decline is more severe, however, and probably represents the struggle to remain patient with our nation’s financial recovery.”

The index also found a 6 percentage point drop to 53 percent in the number of consumers who were confident they would be able to retire at some point.