Prudential Pulse survey: Americans prepare for economy’s next act

Prudential Financials’ latest Pulse research series, “Americans Prepare for the Economy’s Next Act,” finds fears of an economic downturn and high inflation threaten to erode the financial standing and confidence of Americans just as they emerge from the pandemic.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

74% of survey respondents expect a recession within the next two years — and 79% are concerned about how inflation will impact their financial security.

To prepare for leaner times ahead, Americans are already taking action, cutting back on meals and entertainment outside the home (42%), canceling monthly subscription plans (29%) — including streaming services — and setting aside more money for emergencies (26%).

Americans are increasingly relying on nontraditional investments like cryptocurrency — which, the survey found, investors owned at equal levels to more traditional investments like mutual funds and ETFs.

Social media is a leading source of financial information and advice for 30% of Americans — and 99% of those who said they turn to social media for information and advice reported acting on that advice.

“Our world is changing with unprecedented speed and complexity, and with it come shifts in the unique financial circumstances and challenges Americans face,” Prudential Vice Chair Rob Falzon explained. “Prudential’s new Pulse research is helping us to better understand the diverse perspectives and needs of Americans and support our mission to be a global leader in expanding access to investing, insurance and retirement security.”

Prudential has a long history of tracking Americans’ financial health, to help understand the needs of its customers. This survey of 4,000 adults explores the unique perspectives of a broad demographic spectrum of Americans and the feelings, concerns, goals and challenges they’re experiencing as they prepare for the future. Key demographic findings include:

Women continue to face unique challenges to advancing professionally and improving their financial security, despite higher wage growth and a more flexible remote work culture, as nearly 40% of female respondents do not feel fairly compensated for the work they do.

Millennials report higher levels of financial insecurity than other generations, with 36% saying they have felt financially insecure in the past 12 months.

Black Americans feel more financially confident today than pre-pandemic, as nearly 6 in 10 respondents feel more confident than they did three years ago.

“The latest findings from our Pulse survey reinforce what Prudential has already learned from our customers and partners: the financial challenges and opportunities faced by Americans are as diverse as the country itself,” Caroline Feeney, CEO of Prudential’s U.S. Insurance & Retirement Businesses said. “Our goal is to understand this variety of needs, and deliver innovative, tailored solutions that make a meaningful impact in the financial lives of our customers and their communities.”