Many plan to cut expenses to boost retirement and other savings.

4 minute read

More than half of Americans surveyed worry that they won’t be able to retire by age 65, but less than one-quarter have made saving for retirement a priority in 2022, according to the First National Bank of Omaha’s (FNBO) 2022 Financial Wellness Survey.

Concerns about inflation, Social Security running out and struggles to build overall savings all cast a shadow on many people’s retirement plans, according to the survey, which focuses on Americans’ retirement, investing and savings goals.

The online survey of more than 1,000 adults found many respondents focused mainly on getting by financially despite rising inflation while trying to build overall savings.

Here’s the breakdown on what’s on Americans minds when it comes to retirement, savings and other financial habits and concerns, according to the FNBO Financial Wellness Survey.

Many lack adequate savings

Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed say they have less than $15,000 in retirement savings, and 59% don’t think they’re on track to afford retirement by age 65.

One-quarter of those surveyed don’t have even $1,000 in all savings accounts combined. Still, plenty of people are determined to turn their low-savings situation around. More than one-third of those surveyed say they’ve made increasing savings in 2022 a top priority.

Find out: Financial Stress is at an Eight-Year-High – and Inflation is the Top Concern

Financial wellness a priority

Despite pandemic financial fallout, 44% of those surveyed say their overall financial wellness is “about the same” as before the pandemic. And 30% say their finances are even better than before COVID wrecked the economy.

Top financial priorities in 2022 include:

  • Increasing savings: 40%
  • Paying off debt: 30%
  • Repairing credit to achieve better financial wellness: 34%

Find out: Americans are Back to Their Bad Credit Card Spending Habits

Most plan to cut expenses this year

When asked how they plan to find ways to free up more money for savings, respondents took aim at entertainment, streaming services and more. Here are the top ways survey respondents plan to save on monthly expenses:

  • Canceling one or more streaming service subscriptions: 94%
  • Preparing more meals at home: 64%
  • Spending less on clothing and personal items: 49%
  • Holding off on upgrading phones, devices and other technologies: 43%
  • Taking fewer vacations: 40%
  • Securing less expensive housing: 31%

Find out: 8 Ways to Cut Back on Spending in 2022

Many seek out social media financial advice

Nearly one-quarter FNBO’s survey respondents say they learn about ways to boost their financial wellness from social media sites, including:

  • YouTube: 19% (30% of respondents under age 30)
  • Facebook: 12% (19% of respondents under age 30
  • TikTok: 10% (25% of respondents under age 30)

Find out: New Survey Finds Gen Zers Turning to TikTok and YouTube for Financial Advice

Fewer Americans now compared to those surveyed in 2021 rate their financial situation positively, according to Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance poll conducted in April 2022. And nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed say their financial situation is getting worse this year.

Those figures are as bleak as Americans’ financial outlook during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the Great Recession in 2008, according to Gallup.

“A record-high percentage mention inflation as the biggest financial problem facing their family,” according to Gallup. “Meanwhile, about half say recent gas price increases have caused hardship for their family, well below what Gallup has measured during other times of rising fuel prices.”

Other poll findings on Americans’ financial confidence include:

Fewer than half of Americans are optimistic

In a 2021 Gallup poll, 57 percent rated their financial situation as either “excellent” or “good.” This year, however, fewer than half (46 percent) surveyed in the April Gallup poll viewed their financial situation positively.

According to the poll, 38 percent view their financial situation as “only fair,” and 16 percent see their finances as “poor.”

Find out: Inflation is Rising Faster Than Wages – Families Can’t Keep Up

Positive outlooks declined in all income groups

Each major income group in the 2022 Gallup poll shows a decline from 2021 ranging from eight to 14 percentage points when rating current finances.

Lower income (less than $40,00 annually) households showed the largest drop (-22) in personal finance confidence. Upper income ($100,000 or more) households (-18) weren’t far behind, while financial confidence in middle income ($40,000 to $99,000) households decreased by only eight percentage points.

Find out: Both the Broke and the Wealthy are Getting Clobbered By Inflation

Majority still able to live comfortably

Around two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans polled say their financial situation still allows them to live comfortably, although that percentage dropped slightly from 71 percent in 2021. This year’s financial comfort level is similar to past poll finding percentages, which typically range between 66 percent and 71 percent.

Find out: How to Make Inflation Work for You – and Change Your Thought Process Forever

Inflation strikes a major blow to financial confidence

In response to an open-ended question about the biggest financial challenge facing their family, 32 percent of respondents cited inflation. Another 10 percent say high gas and oil prices or other energy costs create financial concern.

Find out: Americans Say Inflation Has Increased Their Monthly Budget

Gas prices causing financial hardship

More than half (52 percent) of Americans surveyed for the 2022 Gallup poll say that skyrocketing prices at the pump have caused financial hardship for their household.

“Americans are more likely now to say higher gas prices are causing them financial hardship than they were in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2018,” according to Gallup.

At the same time, more than half (57 percent) of those surveyed believe today’s high gas prices will eventually go back down to more affordable amounts. Around 48 percent aren’t as hopeful about gas costs, expecting today’s high gas prices to be permanent.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC