The State of US

One-Third of Americans Don’t Have an Accurate Perception of Their Finances

Prudential study comes as company launches national ‘The State of US’ campaign to explore Americans’ relationship with their money

Prudential’s first-ever Financial Wellness Census reveals a nation almost evenly split between those who believe they are financially healthy and those who are struggling

September 17, 2018 — NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–One-third of Americans do not have an accurate handle on the state of their own finances, thinking they are either better or worse off than they actually are, finds new research released by Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU).

The company’s first-ever Financial Wellness Census™ also reveals a nation almost evenly split between people who are financially healthy and those who are struggling.

“Our relationship with money can affect our physical health, stress levels and state of mind, family dynamics and even our performance at work,” says Stephen Pelletier, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Prudential’s U.S.-based businesses. “That’s why it’s so important to us as a company to hear from Americans across the country about the financial challenges and opportunities they face. Only by listening can we truly learn what people need to help them get on the path to financial wellness and stay on the right track throughout their lives.”

Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census

Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census, which surveyed more than 3,000 U.S. adults, is among the most comprehensive and in-depth studies of Americans’ financial health since the 2008 financial crisis. It explores Americans’ objective financial health (such as what they earn, own and owe) and their subjective financial health (including their financial outlook and how optimistic or pessimistic they are about achieving financial goals). In addition to not having an accurate perception of their own finances, other top findings across age, gender, race and geography include:

  • Biggest worry? Americans’ most pressing financial worry is the thought that they will never be able to retire and will have to continue working as long as they can hold a job.
  • Do we think we’re on track? More than 50 percent of survey respondents believe they will achieve most of their financial goals, even though fewer than 50 percent are actually on track to achieve them.

Inspired by insights from the research, Prudential also launched a new campaign created in partnership with Droga5 called “The State of US,” which includes a series of films that spotlight the financial challenges facing Americans, particularly young parents, women, pre-retirees and the self-employed. Hosted by wellness expert Alexandra Drane, the films were shot on location in communities across the U.S. that represent potential obstacles on the path to financial wellness, including: Huntsville, Alabama; Loma Linda, California; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; Monowi, Nebraska; and Stonington, Maine. The stories emerging from these communities reflect some of the most common financial challenges facing Americans, such as longer life expectancies, the cost of higher education, and the changing nature of employment.

Unique Relationships With Money

Our relationship with money can affect our physical health, stress levels and state of mind, family dynamics and even our performance at work...

They reveal that, while each person’s relationship with money is unique, there are common conversations happening in living rooms across the country about our individual and collective state of financial wellness. Additional films, along with related communications and experiences, will continue to be rolled out through the remainder of 2018. The first are viewable here.

“The journey to financial wellness is deeply personal,” says Niharika Shah, Prudential Financial’s vice president of brand marketing. “Our goal with this campaign is to engage Americans from all walks of life to better understand the financial hurdles they face and, in turn, the types of solutions they need and want. Thanks to the generosity and candor of people across the country who shared their stories with us, today we are able to ignite a national conversation about money and the role it plays in our well-being.”

The company also created a three-minute self-assessment to enable individuals to discover where they stand on their own personal path to financial wellness. Together, these initiatives are intended to kick-start a conversation among Americans from all walks of life about their relationship with money and its impact on their well-being – and that of their families – today and in the future.

To explore an interactive data visualization of the Financial Wellness Census™ and to take the three-minute Financial Wellness Self-Assessment, please visit



Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census methodology
This Financial Wellness Census was conducted by Prudential and Chadwick Martin Bailey within the United States among a nationally representative sample of 3,013 U.S. adults ages 25-70. For the complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact
About Prudential Financial, Inc.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of June 30, 2018, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit