New York Life Wealth Watch 2023 outlook: individuals hopeful about finances, despite inflation, recession concerns.

New York Life | January 18, 2023

Americans end 2022 on a high note: adults saved $5,011 on average, 54% met or exceeded savings goals.

NEW YORK – While Americans continue to experience the challenges presented by inflation and a potential recession, New York Life’s latest Wealth Watch survey found that 66% of American adults are confident in their ability to reach their financial goals, and 1-in-3 feel hopeful about their finances at the end of 2022 going into 2023, reflecting similar levels of confidence reported this time last year. Still, inflation continues to be a top concern for 68% of adults, followed by a potential recession (36%) and rising interest rates (29%). The new survey also revealed that women and Gen Xers are feeling the crunch more than other groups, reporting having a lower average amount of savings and feeling less financially confident than other demographic cohorts.

“While financial health and confidence for Americans may differ for myriad factors, it’s worth noting that women and Gen Xers, or those within the “Sandwich Generation,” are likely parent-caregivers, handling both parent or guardian and unpaid adult caregiving roles, often leading to greater levels of stress,” said Suzanne Schmitt, Head of Financial Wellness at New York Life. “Of the 53 million Americans serving as caregivers, 61% of them are women, as reported by AARP in 2020, and their financial needs and priorities, including saving, investing, and protection, require a relevant strategy to adequately support those distinct needs. This may include working with a trusted financial professional to understand those priorities, address barriers to equitable financial wellbeing, and to help improve confidence despite market uncertainty.”

Americans are feeling stressed but confident about their finances entering the new year, after managing to save in 2022, but this optimism differs greatly by gender

  • Thinking about the current state of their finances at the end of 2022 entering 2023, hopeful (33%) and stressful (31%) are the most common feelings reported by American adults.
    • 37% of men were hopeful, compared to only 28% of women.
    • 39% of women feel stressed, compared to only 26% of men.
    • 26% of men feel on track to meet their financial goals, compared to only 17% of women.
    • 36% of women feel anxious, compared to only 26% of men.
  • 78% of adults feel better able or similarly able to manage their debt compared to their peers.
  • When it comes to feeling prepared for retirement, 77% of adults report feeling confident they will be able to retire at their desired age and 63% of adults feel more or similarly prepared for retirement compared to their peers.
    • However, women (44%) and Gen Xers (45%) are more likely to feel less prepared for retirement than other demographic groups.
  • On average, adults aimed to save an average of $5,437 in 2022, while actually saving slightly less: $5,011 on average.
    • Women saved an average of $3,146, while men saved an average of $7,007.
    • Millennials were the highest savers of any generational cohort, saving an average of $6,043.
  • 83% of adults have a long-term financial goal for 2023, with building their emergency funds (41%) and paying off credit card debt (31%) being the most common.

Challenges around ongoing inflation, a looming recession and debt management are still top of mind for Americans in 2023

  • Inflation (68%) and a potential recession (36%) are the top concerns adults have that could impact their finances in 2023.
    • Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely to be concerned about the impact of job security/layoffs and housing market prices on their finances in 2023 than other generations, with nearly 1-in-5 Gen Zers and Millennials listing these as top concerns.
  • Thinking about cost-of-living expenses changing next year, half of adults (51%) expect their living expenses to be higher in the first half of 2023 than they are now.
  • 70% of adults report that they are currently in debt, with credit card debt (42%) and mortgage or home equity loan debt (22%) being the most common.
  • Among those with credit card debt, the average total debt owed by adults is $6,320.98, with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers owing slightly more than younger generations ($7,004.07 and $6,784.64, respectively).
    • Adults with credit card debt report contributing an average of $430 each month towards paying it off.

“Changes brought about by the pandemic, natural disasters and shifting workplace dynamics – along with ongoing inflation and uncertainty – continue to impact wellbeing and future outlooks. While it’s challenging to predict trends and outcomes, over half of Americans anticipate their living expenses will be higher in 2023 than they were in 2022,” said Schmitt. “Individuals, and their families, are adopting a protection mindset to enable financial resiliency, making thoughtful changes to financial strategies to withstand the current environment and when unexpected events occur.”

Financial guidance, debt management strategies and investment portfolio changes present opportunities to thrive in the new year – with young investors being the most likely to change their investment strategy in 2023

  • 71% of American adults reported that they either don’t have a financial strategy in place or have one but need help with it in some way.
    • 22% of adults reported needing help changing their financial strategy to meet or prioritize financial goals.
      • The most common financial goals that require changes to their financial strategy include building their emergency funds (46%), being on track to retire at their desired age (38%) and paying off credit card debt (37%).
  • 62% of adults who are currently in debt have changed their strategy for managing their debts in the past year, with the most common shift being paying more than the monthly minimum (29%).
    •  Gen Zers and Millennials were more likely to report their debt management strategy has changed in the past year (72% for both) compared to older generations.
  • In 2023, 3-in-10 adults who have money invested in the stock market or mutual funds (31%) are planning on making changes to their investment portfolio or strategy.
    • Gen Zers (53%) and Millennials (47%) are the generations most likely to plan on making changes to their investment portfolio or strategy.
    • Those who are planning on making shifts/changes to their investment portfolio or strategy in 2023 are doing so by working with a financial professional or robo-advisor (45%), rebalancing their portfolio (i.e., buying and selling) (40%), or diversifying their portfolio (39%).
  • Among those who have money invested, over a quarter of adults (27%) are planning on investing more money in the new year.
    • Among adults that are planning on investing more money in 2023, they are planning on investing an average of $14,291.50 more in the new year.
      • Among those who are investing more money in 2023, more than half of adults are doing so to ensure their financial security (51%) and to build their wealth or their family's wealth (47%).
    • However, adults that are planning on investing less money in 2023 are planning an average reduction of $2,220.94.

“Americans are focused on building a strong financial foundation, which includes paying down high-interest debt and protecting against financial shocks, and we view that as a positive sign,” said Schmitt. “Over 1-in-5 adults report that they’re seeking guidance to help them adapt their financial strategy to achieve their financial health goals in 2023, including: debt management, building emergency savings, and saving for retirement. While many Americans are determined to manage their own finances, with inflation, updated legislative activity, and varying levels of confidence, this may be an opportune time to seek guidance from a trusted financial professional and determine the next best step in their financial health journey. Much like our physical health, there’s no such thing as perfect financial health. Making slow, steady progress is key to establishing and maintaining positive momentum. Coaching and guidance along the way can also play a critical role in course correcting and helping individuals anticipate and plan for common life events, speed bumps, or a welcome change in plans.”


Wealth Watch is a recurring survey from New York Life that will track Americans’ financial goals, progress toward those goals and feelings about their ability to secure their financial futures, identifying key themes and trends that are emerging about topics like retirement planning, the role of protection-oriented solutions and the importance of financial guidance.


This poll was conducted between December 17 and December 20, 2022 among a national sample of 4,410 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.


New York Life Insurance Company (, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United Statesand one of the largest life insurers in the world. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life has the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies2.

1Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 5/23/2022. For methodology, please see

2Individual independent rating agency commentary as of10/18/2022: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).


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Media contact

Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499

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