Survey: Majority Don’t Think Finances Will Improve in 2019

A majority of Americans (55%) do not think their personal financial situation will be better in 2019 than it was in 2018, according to a new report.

This includes 12% who think their situation will be worse and 44% who think it will stay the same.

The survey said as Americans look ahead to the coming 12 months, the vast majority of Americans have pinpointed their primary financial goals, dominated by paying down debt, sticking to a budget or saving more money. (

On the flipside, the survey reported 44% of Americans are more optimistic that things will improve this year. Millennials are overwhelmingly more positive than their elders; nearly six in 10 (59%) 18- to 37-year-olds foresee an improved personal financial state in 2019, compared to just 35% of those who are older.

Bankrate said of the nearly 30 million people who think their finances will be worse off this year, half (49%) blame the political leaders in Washington for the predicted downturn, ahead of a cost of living increase (38%), increased debt (37%), making less from savings or investments (21%), rising interest rates (19%) and making less money at work (18%).

Those who believe their finances will improve in the new year were much less likely to single out Washington for the development (10%). Rather, they cited things such as making more money at work (52%), having less debt (38%) and making more money from savings and investments (17%). Another 5% noted a cost of living decrease. Senior Economic Analyst Mark Hamrick said encouragingly, nine in 10 Americans (89%) have at least one financial goal for 2019. Three in 10 said their main financial goal is to pay down debt, followed by better budgeting (13%), saving more money for retirement (12%), saving more for emergencies (10%), getting a higher paying job (6%), investing more (5%) and buying a new home (4%)..

However, one in 10 Americans (11%) have no specific financial goal. This includes 18% of the lowest earning households (less than $30K per year), twice as many as those who make more than that. Additionally, those aged 54 years and older were nearly three times as likely to indicate they don’t have a financial goal this year as those who are younger (17% vs. 6%).

Bankrate said while paying down debt was the financial priority cited most frequently across all income brackets – especially those in the $50K to $74.9K range–the highest earners ($75K+ annually) were more likely than the rest to say their main financial goal is to save more money for retirement. Lower-middle income households ($30K-$49.9K) cited saving for emergencies as a top priority more than anyone else.

The study was conducted online in Ipsos’ Omnibus using the web-enabled “KnowledgePanel,” a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US general population, not just the online population. The sample consists of 1,000 nationally representative interviews, conducted between December 14-16 among adults aged 18+. The margin of error for the full sample is +/-3 percentage points.