Financial confidence in the US
How financially confident are you? Take a deep dive into how Americans feel about their finances as we reveal the Unbiased 2023 Financial Confidence Survey results.
Life is full of big financial decisions, from buying a house and getting married to planning for retirement. Yet many of us struggle to make them. Where does this fracture with our finances stem from, and how does it impact us throughout our lives?
Unbiased conducted its 2023 Financial Confidence Survey to learn more, asking adults throughout the US about their relationship with their finances and the financial world overall. The results paint an interesting picture of how Americans feel toward their finances:
17% said they have no financial confidence.
10% said they are not confident in any area of finance.
Only 21% feel confident in their retirement planning.
28% admitted to having little to no confidence about their mortgage.
Over 4 in 5 admitted they regularly run into financial terms they don’t understand.
22% wouldn’t feel confident explaining the 401(k).
49% said they felt too intimated to seek financial advice even if they needed it.
41% said advice from financial advisors would give them the most reassurance when making a financial decision.
Most Americans struggle with financial confidence
Financial confidence means controlling your finances and being assured of your financial decision-making skills. If you are financially confident, you should be able to make decisions about your money, invest wisely, and be comfortable speaking about finance without second-guessing yourself.
Being financially confident is hugely beneficial. It helps you take control of your financial situation and gives you a much stronger chance of fulfilling your financial goals.
But confidence in your finances is proving hard to come by.
According to the Unbiased 2023 Financial Confidence Survey, only 25% of adults consider themselves extremely confident. 17% stated that they do not feel financially confident at all.
Simply put, financial confidence across the US is low. This lack of confidence can have a lasting impact.
Low confidence in life’s milestones
As you journey through life, you hit some big milestones—buying a home, getting married, investing for your future, and planning your retirement.
These milestones all require strategic financial planning.
Unfortunately, and potentially one of the most concerning survey results, these are among some areas with the lowest levels of financial confidence.
When asked to choose three financial areas, they felt the most confident, only 21% felt confident regarding their retirement planning. In fact, when asked what area they felt least confident in, 36% agreed it was their retirement planning.
19% felt confident regarding their mortgages, while 28% admitted lacking confidence.
Investing didn’t fare must better either. 47% cited a lack of confidence in the field, with only 17% saying they have confidence in investing.
Areas where consumers felt the most confident included savings (53%), banking (47%), and credit cards (42%).
Budgeting came in at 31%, with insurance not far behind at 30%.
The survey also revealed that despite their prevalence in the media, financial products and terms, such as NFT and cryptocurrency, are misunderstood by a large percentage of the US population.
However, 1 in 10 said they didn’t feel confident in any area.
So, how can you overcome financial trepidations?
Education system blamed for low financial confidence
Improving your financial education is key starting place for improving your financial confidence.
However, it’s no secret financial education in schools is lacking. No class tells you how to complete your tax return or set up an IRA.
When asked why they lack confidence, nearly a third blame the education system for their lack of confidence in financial matters, with 29% of respondents cited not being taught about finances in school.
However, this is changing.
States are beginning to ensure the next generation is equipped to navigate the financial world with a solid understanding of critical financial topics, including credit, debt, budgeting, and investing.
According to Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), a nonprofit that provides educational resources and advocates for financial literacy in schools, as of 2023, 19 states guarantee a semester-long personal finance course before students graduate. Of these 19 states, Iowa, Utah, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama have already achieved full implementation.
Improving your financial confidence
Building your financial confidence won’t happen overnight, but there are some steps you can take to improve your knowledge and decision-making skills.
Most Americans say getting financial advice and tips from friends and family is a driving factor in their financial confidence.
While some have a financial advisor who can provide support and information (37%), 41% of people agreed that financial advisors provide the most reassurance and trust to make financial decisions and get information. However, nearly half of all consumers (49%) said they would feel too intimidated to seek financial advice even if needed. Others cited the cost (44%) and not knowing where to go (23%) as reasons keeping them from seeking professional financial advice. While getting financial advice may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be.
Speaking about the survey results, Karen Barret, founder, and CEO of Unbiased, said: “While nearly half of US residents find financial topics complex, an even greater amount feel too intimidated to seek financial advice...With Unbiased, we are able to uniquely pair consumers with finance professionals who have experience providing expert guidance tailored to unique circumstances. Our quick and easy matching service saves time and stress, allowing the focus to be on achieving financial goals.”
At Unbiased, we empower you to make confident financial choices, tell us what you need, and we’ll connect you to trusted, tailored, and timely advice. Answer a few questions, and our dynamic search feature will pair you with your perfect financial professional.
Methodological notes: The Unbiased Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative US adults ages 18+, between February 17th and February 21st, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. The data has been weighted to ensure an accurate representation of nationally representative US adults ages 18+."
Senior Content Writer
Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.