CNBC|Momentive poll: financial literacy 2022

TECHNOLOGY

CNBC|Momentive poll: financial literacy 2022

The overwhelming majority of Americans fear higher prices will force them to rethink their financial choices in the coming months.

Brianna Richardson

April 5, 2022 | 6 min read

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Key findings:

  • Amid high prices, Americans face cutbacks: mostly on dining out (53%) and driving (39%)  
  • Most (52%) say they’re under more financial stress now than a year ago 
  • 81% say the U.S. will likely face a recession in 2022, as most disapprove (61%) of the way Biden is handling inflation 
  • Majority of parents (83%) say parents are responsible for teaching children finances, yet 31% say they “never” talk to their children about household finances

Higher prices have most cutting back

Amid high prices, Americans are cutting back: most (53%) say higher prices have caused them to cut back on dining out in the last six months, while 39% say they’ve cut back on driving, canceled a monthly subscription (35%) or switched from a brand-name product to a generic one (32%). 

  • Democrats are almost twice as likely as Republicans to say they haven’t cut back on anything in the last six months (18% vs. 10%) 

Should higher prices persist, most say they’ll consider cutting back on dining out (52%) or driving (42%) followed by canceling a vacation (40%) or a monthly subscription (36%).  

The overwhelming majority of adults (76%) say they’re worried higher prices will force them to rethink their financial choices in the coming months. 

  • Seniors 65+ are least concerned: 64% are worried higher prices will force them to rethink their financial choices vs. adults 18-34 (77%) and 35-64 (81%)
  • Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they’re worried higher prices will force them to rethink their financial choices (85% vs. 68%) 

Concerns run high as almost half (48%) of adults say they think about rising prices “all the time”. Over four in 10 (44%) say they think about rising prices “sometimes” or occasionally” while only a few say they “rarely” (5%) or “never” (1%) think of rising prices.

  • 55% of those with household income under $50,000 say they think of rising prices “all the time” vs. 45% of people in households with income between $50,000 and $100,000 and 40% of people with household incomes in the six figures or higher 

Yet, adults who say they have an “excellent” or “good” understanding of financial literacy are slightly less worried higher prices will force them to rethink their financial choices (75%) compared with those who say they have a “fair” or a “poor” understanding (81%). 

Most are under more financial stress now than a year ago

Just over half (52%) of adults say they are under more financial stress now than a year ago; 25% say they are under less stress and 21% say their stress level is unchanged. 

  • Seniors 65+ are more likely to report that they’re under about the same amount of financial stress now as before (28%) vs. adults age 18-34 (16%) and 35-64 (21%) 
  • Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they’re under more financial stress now than a year ago (63% vs. 44%) 
  • 57% of those with household income under $50,000 say they’re under more financial stress now than a year ago, vs. 53% of people in households with income between $50,000 and $100,000 and 45% of people with household incomes in the six figures or higher

For some, the financial stress is constant: 25% say they’ve felt financially stressed “all the time” over the last year while 41% say they’ve felt financially stressed “sometimes”, 21% “rarely” felt financially stressed and 12% say they’ve “never” felt financially stressed over the last year. 

  • Young and middle-age adults are feeling it most: 30% of those 18-34 and 27% of those 35-64 say they’ve felt financially stressed “all the time” vs. just 11% of those 65+ 

Two in 10 (21%) say gas prices have caused them the most financial stress over the last year followed by housing costs (16%) and food costs (13%). Few (4%) are likely to cite student loans or child care costs (2%) as financial stressors. Where there are differences, they are mostly partisan: Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to cite gas prices as their biggest financial stressor (32% vs. 13%). 

Recession concerns set in

Almost all adults (81%) say the U.S. economy will likely experience a recession in 2022. 

  • 91% of Republicans say a recession will likely occur vs. 73% of Democrats and 81% of independents 
  • Those who say they’ve been under more financial stress in the last year are more likely to say a recession will occur (88%) vs. those who are under less financial stress (73%)  or about the same amount of financial stress as before (75%) 

This comes as 6 in 10 adults (61%) say they disapprove of the way President Biden is handling inflation, almost 10 points lower than Biden’s overall approval rating (52% disapprove; 45% approve). 

  • Almost all Republicans (93%) say they disapprove of the way President Biden is handling inflation vs. 28% of Democrats and 71% of independents 

While most Americans feel the burden of ongoing economic woes at home, most aren’t personally feeling the impact of conflict abroad. Over 4 in 10 (46%) say the war between Russia and Ukraine has only affected their personal finances “a little”, while 30% say it’s had no impact at all. Only 20% say the war has affected their personal finances “a lot”. 

Majority say parents should teach children finances, yet some don’t 

The overwhelming majority (83%) of parents with children under 18 say parents are most responsible for teaching children about finances. Just 8% say high school teachers are responsible while even fewer (4%) put the responsibility on elementary school teachers or college professors (3%).  

Yet a full 3 in 10 (31%) parents say they “never” talk to their children about household finances; 40% of parents say they talk on a monthly basis or less and just a few say they talk once a week (13%) or more than once a week (15%) .

Most parents say the pandemic has not impacted how often they talk to their children about household finances: 55% say they talk to their children at about the same frequency as before, while far fewer (31%) say they talk with their children about finances more now. Only 13% say they’re talking to their children about finances less often than they did before the pandemic.

  • 17% of Black parents and 16% of Hispanic parents say they talk to their children about household finances less than they did before the pandemic, almost double that of white parents (9%) 
  • 20% of people in households with incomes under $50,000 say they talk to their children about household finances less than they did prior to the pandemic. That’s twice the rate among people with household incomes from $50K-$99,999 (10%) and even higher than the rate among people with household incomes of $100K or more (3%).  

The majority of parents (55%) don’t give their children an allowance. Among the 44% who do: 61% give their children $20 or less; 27% give their children more than $20, but less than $50 and just 10% say they give their children more than $50.

  • 73% of white parents give their children $20 or less vs. 57% of Hispanic parents and 48% of Black parents 
  • 73% of parents with household incomes of $100K or more say they give their children $20 of less vs. 60% of parents with incomes under $50,000 and 58% of parents with incomes $50K-$99,999

Read more about our polling methodology here

Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below:

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