Affinity Federal Credit Union index: 60% of consumers find finances are key stressor

More than 1 in 3 concerned about affording food for next month

Affinity Federal Credit Union recently released the findings from its latest “Wellbeing and Your Wallet” index, which looked at rising financial anxiety, particularly in younger generations of adults in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Financial strain is taking a toll on the residents of the tristate area, according to the latest survey of 3,060 adults that was conducted between June 27 and July 18. in fact, 60% agreed their finances are a primary source of stress, a 5 percentage point increase from the last survey conducted in March. Additionally, more than 1 in 3 (35%) expressed concerns about their ability to afford food in the upcoming month.

These growing concerns are especially prominent among the younger population. A staggering 44% of Gen Z respondents (ages 18 to 26) and 43% of millennials (ages 27 to 42) shared heightened anxieties about ensuring their next meal. This marks an alarming rise from the first quarter, with Gen Z respondents showing a 22% jump and millennials an increase of nearly 14% in this key area.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • Education and child care worries: The upcoming academic year weighed heavily on the minds of 1 in 3 respondents, with costs associated with back-to-school, tuition or child care being a cause for concern. Gen Z (50%) and Millennials (44%) once again indicated the highest levels of worry.
  • Emergency funds depleting: Only 44% of respondents feel confident handling emergency expenses. The Silent Generation (ages 78 to 95) report greater ease, despite a 5% dip from Q1.
  • Inflationary pressures: Across generations, 42% of participants are stressed by inflation, followed by unexpected expenses (38%) and difficulties in saving (36%).
  • Economic pessimism persists: 57% of households maintain a negative outlook for the economy in the upcoming year, marking a 6.5% drop from Q1 sentiments.
  • Changing summer plans: 2 in 5 respondents (41%) have had to reconsider their summer vacations or leisure activities due to financial constraints. Gen Z (49%) and millennials (51%) were more likely to alter their plans, particularly feeling the pinch in lodging (38%) and transportation (25%) costs.
  • Silver lining: Despite the unsettled financial atmosphere, nearly half (46%) remained hopeful about their fiscal future. Gen Z led the pack in optimism at 57%.

“The results of our summer Wellbeing and Your Wallet index provide a stark snapshot of the current sentiments across our communities,” Grant Gallagher, assistant vice president and head of well-being at Affinity Federal Credit Union, said. “We’re witnessing firsthand how economic pressures are affecting everyday decisions, particularly for our younger generations, who, in many cases, are grappling with necessities like affording meals for the next month. The ongoing economic downturn, reflected in the growing financial anxieties of local consumers, is a reminder that our mission to support members in their financial journeys has never been more crucial.”

Affinity partnered with Drive Research for the survey.