Poll: 70% of Americans Feeling Financially Stressed, 58% Living Paycheck to Paycheck

(AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

Around 70 percent of Americans have admitted feeling stressed about their personal finances at present as the U.S. economy continues to experience significant headwinds under Joe Biden’s leadership, a new poll has found.

A CNBC poll, conducted in partnership with Momentive, found that of the seven in 10 people who admit to feeling stressed, a further 58 percent of people say they are living paycheck to paycheck.

The study’s authors explained:

Just 13% of Americans say they are confident in America’s banking system according to a new poll from CNBC and Momentive fielded in the weeks after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. But the banking crisis is not the only stressor weighing on people’s minds. Seven in 10 people say they are stressed about their personal finances, and about half say their overall financial stress has increased since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

More than half of Americans (58%) describe themselves as living paycheck to paycheck, including a third of people with household incomes in the six figures. On top of all this, most Americans do not have an emergency fund to help buffer them in times of financial stress; among those who do, 40% say that have less than $10,000 saved for a time of need.

Consumers’ purchasing power has similarly weakened as the cost of fundamental household expenses such as rent, groceries, and utilities have all increased compared to a year ago as inflation reaches double digits.

The poll which surveyed 4,336 adults in late March, found that inflation was the primary factor causing financial stress for almost 60 percent of respondents. This was followed by concerns about instability in the economy (43 percent), rising interest rates (36 percent), and a shortage of savings (35 percent).

“People are worried that the money they’ve saved won’t last and are worried they’re going to have to lean more on their credit cards and other sources of debt just to get by,” said Bruce McClary, a senior vice president at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “There’s almost no segment of the population that is untouched by the financial pressures that we’re experiencing more broadly at this time.”

Financial stress is even impacting those earning $100,000 or more. Among those earning six figures, about a third stated that they are currently living paycheck to paycheck, while more than a quarter claimed to have no emergency fund in place.

Approximately a quarter of respondents stated that if they were given $10,000, they would invest it in a combination of stocks, bonds, and savings. Another popular option was to deposit the funds in a high-yield savings account. Conversely, only seven percent of participants indicated that they would invest in the stock market, and an equal percentage would opt to spend the money.

The survey also revealed that men were more likely to invest a $10,000 windfall in the stock market, with 11 percent of male respondents choosing this option compared to only four percent of female respondents. In contrast, women were more inclined to deposit the money in a high-yield savings account or a combination of stocks, bonds, and savings.

On Sunday, RedState reported that American banks experienced a historic contraction in the final two weeks of March, greater than even during the 2008 financial crisis, a strong warning that credit conditions are worsening as a result of deteriorating economic conditions.

Despite the severe economic challenges faced by ordinary Americans, President Joe Biden has repeatedly downplayed the gravity of the situation while claiming his economic plan is leading to remarkable results.

“We’ve achieved the fastest, strongest, most equitable recovery in American history.  We’ve created 12.4 million new jobs.  That’s more jobs… in two years than any president has created in a four-year term,” he said last week. “Unemployment is near a 50-year low.  And record number [sic] of people have applied to start new businesses — nearly 10,500,000 applications in the past two years.”


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