During the 8-year cycle, the Money Anxiety Index peaked in December of 2010 at 95.5 and started its gradual decline to its current 62.5 level. The Money Anxiety Index was faster on its way up than on its way down. It took the index only 3 years to reach its peak in December of 2010, and 5 years to go down to its current pre-recession level.
The decline in the level of money anxiety among consumers is a reflection of improving economic conditions. Among them is the latest jobs report showing that the labor market added 271,000 nonfarm jobs in October with healthy gains in construction, professional & business services, education & health and leisure & hospitality.
The timing of the decline in the level of money anxiety is also important. November is the gateway to the holiday shopping season, which is a critical time for retailers. The return of the Money Anxiety Index to its pre-recession level suggest that consumers are ready to spend more this holiday season than in any of the past 8 years.
The Money Anxiety Index is produced by Dr. Dan Geller, a behavioral finance scientist and the author of the book Money Anxiety. The index measures the level of consumers' financial worry and stress based on their spending and savings pattern. Historically, the Money Anxiety Index fluctuated from a high of 135.3 during the recession of the early 1980s, to a low of 38.7 in the mid 1960s.