The Country Financial Security Index rose 0.8 points to 64.9 in February, marking the first time the index has risen at the start of the year since Country Financial began the index in 2007.

Twenty-one percent planned to boost savings this year, and 47% set aside money this month, up from 44% in December and the largest percentage in more than a year. Forty-one percent rate their overall level of financial security as positive, up from 39% in December.

And 76% are confident their will be able to pay debts, on par with the last survey.

“For three years, we’ve seen signs of a holiday financial hangover through a decrease in the Country Index,” said Keith Brannan, vice president of financial security planning at Country Financial. “Americans appear to be bucking this trend, perhaps because people spent within their means in late 2010. It’s encouraging that Americans are feeling more optimistic and short-term sentiments have improved.”

However, looking out to the long term, prospects are not as positive. Fifty-five percent are confident in their ability to send children to college, down from 59%. Fifty-four percent are confident they will have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement, down from 55%.

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