40% of consumers slash spending

September 19, 2011: 2:55 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Worries about the economy and the stock market caused 40% of consumers to cut their spending over the past two months, according to a study on financial security from Bankrate.com.

Americans across all income groups reduced their spending in the last 60 days. Among those earning $75,000 a year or more, 37% cut back. And 43% of households making less than $30,000 spent less.

"This type of widespread cutback in consumer spending, if sustained for any length of time, is how recessions are born," said Bankrate's senior financial analyst Greg McBride.

Bankrate's Financial Security Index for the month of September rose slightly from the previous month, indicating that Americans are feeling better about their personal finances. In August, the index fell to an all-time low amid the debt-ceiling crisis.

However, with 46.2 million people now living in poverty and median incomes on the decline, consumers are feeling less financially secure than they were a year ago.

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More Americans over the age of 30 reported a lower net worth compared to last year, the study found. And across all education levels, more people said their net worth is lower today than it was last year.

Job security was a big concern. Only 23% of respondents under age 30 said they felt more secure in their jobs than they did 12 months ago. Among those between the ages of 50 and 64, only 10% felt more secure in their jobs. To top of page

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