Consumers optimistic about future finances

While 2011 wasn't the best of years economically for the nation or Americans in general, a new survey indicates it ended on an optimistic note.

According to the Country Financial Security Index, feelings of financial stability increased 1.6 points to 64.8 in December. The rise in the index is an indication Americans are more confident in their ability to pay off debts and are more upbeat about their financial situation in general.

Keith Brannan, vice president of financial security planning for Country Financial, said consumers' optimism may have stemmed from November's positive job numbers.

"Declining unemployment could be positively affecting Americans' financial sentiment," said Brannan.

He added that consumers should start the year off on the right foot by reviewing their financial plan, which can help mitigate feelings of uncertainty.

Something else that may help ameliorate personal financial qualms is getting a credit consultation. Financial planners may be able to better inform consumers about what they need to do to improve their fiscal well-being.

The poll also questioned respondents about how 2012 will fare economically compared to 2011. Thirty percent said 2012 will be better a better year while 28 percent said it would be worse. Thirty-two percent said it would be about the same.