Poll estimates most Americans don’t expect their finances to improve in 2020

News Release, Bankrate

NEW YORK – January 16, 2020 – Over have of U.S. adults (57%) do not expect their personal financial situation to improve in 2020, according to a new study from Bankrate.com. This includes 41% of those who expect their finances to stay the same this year and 16% who say their finances will be worse. On a brighter note, 43% say that their financial situation will get better in 2020.

This group includes 28% who say their finances will get ‘somewhat better’ and 15% who expect them to get ‘significantly’ better.

“The optimism, or lack of pessimism, Americans have regarding the outlook for their finances in 2020 is consistent with ongoing economic expansion and low unemployment,” said Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst, Greg McBride, CFA.

Younger generations appear to be more hopeful regarding their finances, with 56% of millennials, ages 24-39, and 44% of Gen Xers, ages 40-55, predicting their finances will improve. However, baby boomers, ages 56-74, (31%) are notably less optimistic.

Nearly half of those who expect their financial situation to improve say it will be due to making more money at work (49%). Further, 42% say they expect to have less debt in 2020. Millennials and Generation X are most likely to cite making more money at work (at 58% and 51%, respectively), while baby boomers are looking forward to having less debt (54%).

Other reasons these Americans think they’ll fare better financially in 2020 include, making more money from savings or investments (28%), a change in life circumstances such as health or family (27%), benefitting from the work done by political leaders in Washington (14%) and changing interest rates (8%).

Among the 16% of U.S. adults who think their finances will be worse in the coming year, the most commonly cited reasons are the work done by political leaders in Washington (44%), a change in life circumstances such as health or family (33%), having more debt (30%), making less money at work (28%), and making less money from savings or investments (21%).

“Improving your finances in 2020 revolves around the fundamental blocking and tackling of personal finance – budgeting, saving, and paying down debt – and Americans know it, commonly citing these as their top financial goal,” McBride added.

More than 8 in 10 Americans (83%) claim to have at least one financial goal going into 2020. The most popular goal is paying down debt (22%), which is the top goal among all age and income groups, though notable that it’s the highest for households with income of $80,000+ (28%).

A focus on better budgeting (16%) is the second most cited goal, followed by saving more for emergencies (12%), getting a higher paying job (9%), saving more for retirement (8%), investing more money (7%), and buying a new home (4%).

Bankrate.com commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct a consumer survey. The total sample size was 2,634 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken on December 4-6, 2019. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a nonprobability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.

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