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73% of Americans plan to increase their net worth in the year ahead, according to new study

(BPT) - Inflation and rising prices have the majority of Americans (70%) feeling uneasy about their financial outlook, according to new research from Empower, a financial services company. While some Americans are bracing for a recession (42%), nearly a third (29%) are hoping for a soft landing and 20% are holding steady, saying they feel the same way about the market as they did a year ago.

More than half (51%) say they plan to hold off on making major financial commitments like homeownership, with Gen Z (57%) pushing back major money moves the most: 37% are waiting for relief in the market. Two-thirds of savers believe the economy will impact their ability to retire (65%).

Despite these concerns, Americans have aspirations for securing a brighter financial future in 2024, especially when it comes to increasing their net worth (73%) or asking for a raise at work (34%).

Working on it

One in 5 Americans are anxious about job security, and that concern rises to 25% for Gen Zers. In the current economic environment, 61% of Americans value job stability over job flexibility. Workers in some industries feel more stressed, most notably in marketing (36%), food and hospitality (33%) and technology (24%).

More than a third of Americans (34%) plan to seek a raise at work and Millennials are the most proactive, with 39% intending to ask for a salary hike. For more than 2 in 5 Americans (44%), a salary bump is expected, regardless of if they have a money talk with their boss or not.

Other ways people plan to boost their bottom line? A quarter of Americans (overall; 33% Gen Z) intend to work a second job, and nearly as many (24%) will start a side hustle. Over a quarter of Gen Zers intend to further their education (26%) as a pathway to higher earnings.

Investments on the rise

The majority of Americans are planning to make investments in the year ahead (80%) and asset reallocation ranks at the top of the list for nearly two-thirds (64%).

Americans plan to put money in stocks (44%), employer-sponsored retirement plans (37%), and high-yield savings accounts (34%) more than other types of investments. Many (64%) are also looking to change their portfolio mix: 38% plan to do so by increasing their investment in stocks and equities, while 16% are leaning toward bonds and fixed income.

Among investment opportunities, bonds are viewed favorably, with 47% of Americans considering them a reliable investment. Just 18% plan to invest in cryptocurrency. Gen Z shows the most aversion to risk, with 26% saying they may pull their investment funds to keep more cash on hand.

Despite these challenges, Americans are taking steps to improve their finances by putting more money into their employer-sponsored retirement plans (37%). Additionally, 22% of Gen Zers are hoping for a little luck along the way, like winning the lottery or receiving an inheritance, to help pay their bills.

Making the most of it

While economic uncertainty continues to weigh on people's minds, Americans are setting goals and planning ahead to help set themselves up for financial success.


Empower commissioned a survey of 1,008 Americans on January 23, 2024 to explore their financial outlooks and priorities in the year ahead.


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