Monday, January 27 12:35:14
For the second quarter in a row, an index that measures Irish peoples' confidence in their finances rose in the last three months of last year.
Standard Life's Financial Confidence Index has increased over the last quarter from 49.4 in October 2013 to 51 in January 2014.
This is the first time the index has increased in two consecutive quarters since 2008, when it hit an all-time high of 66.7 in March 2008.
The index now stands well above its all-time low of 47.6 recorded in July 2013.
Almost all age groups feel more financially confident than they did last quarter, with only one age group (those aged between 25 and 34) experiencing a decrease.
Retired people are significantly more confident than those who are non-retired or not working.
Those aged 65+ experienced the largest increase in confidence scores, moving from 58.9 to 63.1 followed by those aged 35 to 44 whose confidence increased from 47.7 to 51.3. Those aged 65+ continue to be the most confident age group while those aged 25 to 34 are the least confident at 46.5.
"Confidence has steadily improved in the past six months as economic growth and employment prospects appear to have improved," said Brendan Barr, head of marketing at Standard Life. A number of other factors are also contributing positively, including the rise in property values. Also, the October Budget was generally neutral for most peoples' pay-packets, the first time in many years that most people haven't felt worse off after a Budget," he said.
On a regional basis Dublin continues to be the most confident region with an average score of 53.6 ahead of Connaught/Ulster which experienced a large increase of 3.8 points to reach an average score of 50.9.
Munster is the least financially secure region with a score of 48.9.