The Pulse

Inflation And Recession Fears Have Americans Looking For Change

Inflation is this holiday season’s Grinch as consumers rein in spending

Mass Mutual’s latest Consumer Spending & Saving Index reveals holiday travel is grounded, with most Americans (63%) having no travel plans this holiday and 22% specifically calling out “the economy” as the reason they are not traveling.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Americans are heading into this holiday season increasingly stressed and less optimistic about the economy, according to the latest Consumer Spending & Saving Index from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). The financial impacts of inflation and the increasing concern about a recession are continuing to put pressure on Americans’ financing, impacting their optimism and leading them to seek change.

“While many have proven to be resilient, our latest index reveals the increasing toll of inflation along with dampening prospects for the holiday season,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S. “The good news is that people can take steps now to better secure their financial future. Just look at recent events with the pandemic, inflation, market fluctuations, you name it. Those who have taken steps to plan for life’s uncertainties, and leveraged times of uncertainty to their advantage, have had more options available to them than those who did not.”

Notable findings from the survey include:

The stress of inflation is increasing, with more Americans changing their spending habits in the face of a worsening economy.

  • Americans are anxious about their personal finances with 41% saying they are stressed about their personal finances, compared to only 30% last quarter.
  • A statistically significant majority (84%) are concerned about the impact of a recession on their daily finances, compared to 80% of respondents last quarter.
  • More Americans are dipping into their savings to cover expenses with 45% of respondents taking funds out in the last three months compared with 38% last quarter and 33% last year.
  • Of those taking from their savings accounts, 55% attributed their decision to the rising cost of living and 52% used the funds to help pay their bills.
  • Older generations, Baby Boomers (74%) and the Silent Generation (78%), are more likely to be concerned about the election’s impact on their long-term finances than younger generations, Gen Z (57%) or Millennials (61%).

Consumer anxiety is likely to dampen holiday cheer with most Americans planning to limit their holiday spending and travel expenses because of the worsening economy.

  • Nearly half (47%) of Americans are planning to spend less this holiday season compared with last year. This is an increase from last quarter where only 38% of Americans had these plans.
  • Most Americans (63%) have no travel plans this holiday season.
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans (22%) are not traveling to visit loved ones because of the economy.
  • Sentimentality is out of fashion this holiday season. Cash is king with Americans preferring cash over a traditional present, and 61% of Americans saying that they plan to give cash or a gift card.

“It is important to take deliberate, thoughtful steps to shore up your finances and spending plans to endure whatever may come,” said Fanning. “As we approach the end of the year, people should create a plan that is flexible enough to weather times of uncertainty and help position them to reach their longer-term financial goals.”

 

 

 

Methodology
The MassMutual Consumer Spending & Saving Index tracks financial outlooks and behaviors in a changing economic environment. It offers an in-depth snapshot of people’s saving and spending behaviors and examines sentiment and attitudes toward navigating the financial impacts of the pandemic and the changing state of the economy with an emphasis on inflation, changes in interest rates and spending. Commissioned by MassMutual, the research was conducted online by PSB Insights from October 14-24, 2022 among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults (ages 18+) as well as an additional sample of 500 adult Massachusetts residents.
Links to prior indexes:
September 2022 Index
June 2022 Index
March 2022 Index
November 2021 Index
August 2021 Index
About MassMutual
MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. Founded in 1851, the company has been continually guided by one consistent purpose: we help people secure their future and protect the ones they love. With a focus on delivering long-term value, MassMutual offers a wide range of protection, accumulation, wealth management and retirement products and services. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.

 

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