Fidelity Investments has released the findings of its Market Sentiment Study and found that 60% of Americans are concerned about finances. Of this group, 38% are extremely or very concerned, and 22% are moderately concerned.
Sixty-two percent are concerned about job security, with 43% extremely or very concerned, and 19% moderately concerned.
Millennials and Generation Xers are the most concerned about their finances in the next six months, with 69% of Millennials saying this is a concern for them, and 68% of Gen Xers sharing that anxiety. By comparison, only 51% of Baby Boomers are concerned about their finances over the next six months.
Forty-three percent of Americans say their stress levels related to finances have worsened. Thirty-three percent say it is affecting their sleep, 24%, their exercise habits and 22%, their healthy eating habits.
Forty-nine percent say they don’t have the time to address their investments and retirement savings because of increased responsibilities at home and work.
Women tend to feel the impact more than men, with 37% of men and 48% of women saying their anxiety about their finances has gotten worse. Sleep habits have gotten worse for 28% of men but 37% of women. Healthy eating habits have gotten worse for 19% of men but 25% of women.
As the pandemic continues to impact financial markets and everyday life, 49% of Americans say they are worried about paying down student debt. Forty-six percent are concerned about having enough saved to retire as planned, and 45% worry about paying down debt other than student loans.
Forty-three percent are worried about their ability to pay for their children’s college education, and the same percentage is also worried about finding money to save for other goals, while 40% are concerned about their ability to pay monthly bills.
In spite of all of these concerns, Americans are taking steps to better manage their money. Forty-eight percent are cutting back on discretionary spending. Forty-four percent are working to increase their emergency savings, and 34% are rethinking how they manage their money.
Thirty-one percent are talking more about money and finances with family or friends, and 20% are reviewing their existing financial plan more regularly. Fifteen percent are investing new money in the stock market, and 11% are creating a new financial plan.
Overall, 51% say they have a plan in place to help them save and invest to reach their financial goals. Of those who say they have a financial plan, 50% have at least three months’ worth of emergency savings, while this is true for only 34% of those without a plan. Thirty-five percent of those with a plan are less stressed about paying monthly bills, compared to 45% of those without a plan.
Thirty-five percent of those with a plan say they are less likely to feel especially concerned about finances over the next six months, but this jumps to 42% of those without a plan.
Asked what would make them feel more confident in making financial decisions about the future, 34% said having a financial plan, and 31% said understanding how to better prioritize their savings. Twenty-six percent said access to a financial professional would help, and 28% cited free workshops and online educational content. Finally, 25% said they wanted checklists and other actionable resources to guide them through different life events and market situations.
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