A Glimmer of Hope for Americans' Finances

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What You Need to Know

According to a New York Life survey, at the end of 2022, two-thirds of American adults said they were confident they could reach their financial goals.
On average, women and Gen Xers are feeling less financially confident and have less in savings than their counterparts.
Inflation and a potential recession are top concerns for consumers.

At the end of 2022 going into the new year, two-thirds of American adults said they were confident in their ability to reach their financial goals, and a third felt hopeful about their finances, New York Life reported this week.

These were similar to levels of confidence respondents indicated in among those surveyed a year ago, New York Life said in a statement.

At the same time, participants in the new survey said inflation was their main concern, followed by a potential recession and rising interest rates.

The survey also found that women and Gen Xers are feeling the crunch more than other groups, reporting a lower average amount of savings and feeling less financially confident.

“While financial health and confidence for Americans may differ for myriad factors, it’s worth noting that women and Gen Xers, or those within the ‘Sandwich Generation,’ are likely parent-caregivers, handling both parent or guardian and unpaid adult caregiving roles, often leading to greater levels of stress,” Suzanne Schmitt, head of financial wellness at New York Life, said in the statement.

She pointed to AARP data from 2020 showing that 61% of American caregivers are women, and that “their financial needs and priorities, including saving, investing and protection, require a relevant strategy to adequately support those distinct needs.”

Schmitt said this may include working with a financial professional to understand those priorities, address barriers to equitable financial wellbeing and help improve their confidence at a time of market uncertainty.

New York Life conducted the online poll between Dec. 17 and Dec. 20 among a national sample of 4,410 adults.

Optimism Differs Greatly by Gender

Thinking about the state of their finances at the turn of the year, 37% of male respondents said they wee hopeful, compared with only 28% of their female counterparts. Among those working toward a financial goal, 26% of men but just 17% of women felt on track.

Further demonstrating the gender divide, 39% of women reported feeling stressed and 36% said they felt anxious, compared with 26% of men in both cases.

Survey participants aimed to save an average of $5,437 in 2022, but came up short, averaging $5,011 in savings. Again, the results showed a big discrepancy between women and men: Women saved an average of $3,146, while men socked away an average of $7,007. Millennials had the highest saving rate of any generational cohort, averaging $6,043 last year.

Those habits will lay a good foundation for 2023; 83% of respondents report having a long-term financial goal for 2023, with building emergency funds and paying off credit card debt being the most common.