Fall 2023: Wellbeing and Your Wallet Index Findings
63% of Consumers Plan to Curb Spending This Holiday Season; Student Loan Repayment Concerns Rise
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — December. 4, 2023 — Residents in the tri-state area continue to experience financial pressures according to the latest Wellbeing and Your Wallet Index conducted by Affinity Federal Credit Union. The survey captures sentiment around the overall financial wellbeing of consumers, a cornerstone of the culture within Affinity’s communities.
The majority of individuals (58%) in the tri-state area somewhat or strongly agree finances are a significant source of stress, more likely for younger generations (Gen Z - 67%, Millennials - 68%) compared to older generations (Baby Boomers - 44%, Silent Generation - 31%).
The survey of 3,096 adults conducted between October 5 and November 5 also reveals 63% of individuals say they plan to reduce or scale back spending this holiday season due to costs and/or current market conditions. Those with children were more likely to cut back (66%) compared to those without children (60%). Additionally, 43% say they’re somewhat or very concerned about being able to afford bills due to the federal student loan repayments resuming. This includes just over half of Millennial and Gen Z respondents (51%).
Additional key findings from the survey include:
- Job Security Worries: Amid ongoing concerns about the state of the economy, 14% of respondents say job loss or a career change is among their most significant source of financial stress. With hiring slowing, interest rates remaining high and other headwinds facing businesses, working professionals may realize they need to stick with their current job for the near-term and wait out any possible recession or they may need to consider other work if they’re facing a possible layoff.
- Lower Temps, Higher Costs: As the cold temperatures settle in for the coming months in the northeast, half of respondents worry about home heating costs. Parents with children were significantly more concerned about this expense (55%) compared to households without children (46%).
- Inflationary Pressures: Inflation and groceries remain a consistent source of stress across all generations. 35% of respondents are concerned about having enough money for food in the next month, with the worry being most prominent among Gen Z (42%) and Millennials (44%).
- Emergency Preparedness Fears: Unexpected expenses were significantly more concerning for Baby Boomers (45%) and the Silent Generation (49%). Being able to save was a more significant source of stress for Gen Z (42%) versus older generations.
"The findings from the Fall Wellbeing and Your Wallet Index shows many individuals and families are not feeling any relief on the costs of essentials,” said Grant Gallagher, AVP, Head of Wellbeing at Affinity Federal Credit Union. “Our data reveals a growing unease regarding financial stability, as many are adjusting to the realities of tighter budgets and rising expenses. Concerns over the economy, increased living costs and student loan repayments resuming are significantly influencing household spending, especially for those who were already living paycheck to paycheck, and these stressors are further compounded as we approach the holiday season. These insights underscore the vital role Affinity plays in providing support and guidance to our members as they navigate these challenging economic times.”
For more information on the survey and to view an infographic of the full survey results, please visit affinityfcu.com/financial-wellbeing/wellbeing-and-your-wallet.
Affinity partnered with Drive Research for the survey.
About Affinity Federal Credit Union
Affinity Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution, member-owned and community-focused, with a mission to nurture your financial wellbeing. With more than 20 branches across the tri-state area, Affinity is the largest credit union headquartered in the state of New Jersey, proudly ranking in the top 2% of all credit unions in terms of asset size1. The Affinity difference is about people helping people on a deeper level and understanding what YOU need to make your unique dreams a reality. For more information, please visit www.affinityfcu.com.
1 Source: NCUA.gov. Using the “Credit Union and Corporate Call Report Data” found here: https://www.ncua.gov/analysis/credit-union-corporate-call-report-data
Gregory FCA for Affinity Federal Credit Union