Six months in and 2022 is shaping up to be a year of uncertainty and worry for Americans when it comes their personal finances. Money issues from the end of 2021 like rising inflation followed people into the first quarter of 2022. Then, in the second quarter, inflation climbed to 40-year highs while housing prices continued their rapid rise—fanning the flames of economic insecurity and putting pressure on Americans who were just trying to keep up with their bills.
The latest edition of The State of Personal Finance 2022 examines how Americans are handling their financial struggles and what they’re doing to change habits and brace for what they believe might come next. Based on research Ramsey Solutions has done over the last 18 months, we can see a definite upward trend in all the different ways Americans are struggling with money.
In connection with the theme of financial struggles, the study also looks at the fast-shifting job market (which is still feeling the effects of The Great Resignation), as well as people’s overall outlook on the real estate market, and perceptions of legislation for student loan debt.
The most recent information in this study, which pertains to the second quarter of 2022, will be featured first, followed by the first quarter findings.
Section One: Q2 2022 Findings
- We’re seeing a negative upward trend in many sectors of Americans’ financial state over the last 18 months.
- One in three Americans said they are either struggling or in a crisis with their personal finances, and over half said they had difficulty paying their bills.
- Gen X is struggling the most in the current economic situation.
- Housing is another source of stress, with 64% of renters finding it hard to cover their rent (up 15 points from 18 months ago).
- When asked what their two biggest financial challenges were, 40% of Americans reported inflation was their most pressing challenge, followed closely by cost of living (39%).
- Most Americans are cutting back on expenses to make ends meet, with most (70%) cutting back on travel.
- 59% of Americans said they worry about their general finances daily (a 15% increase from 18 months ago) and about half have lost sleep in the last three months due to financial worries.
- 8 in 10 Americans (84%) are concerned about how a recession will impact their household. 75% said a recession would have a significant negative impact.
- When it comes to the real estate market, most Americans were pessimistic—with only 24% saying they’re optimistic about the market in their area.
- The Great Resignation was still hanging over the job market, with 57% of Americans considering changing jobs.
Section Two: Q1 2022 Findings