Majority of Americans feeling financially stressed and living paycheck to paycheck according to CNBC Your Money Survey


CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and SurveyMonkey today announced the results of the latest CNBC Your Money Survey.

The survey, which polled over 4,000 adults in the U.S., finds that three quarters of working Americans (74%) say they are stressed about their personal finances these days, which is slightly higher than the last Your Money survey (70%), and more than half of Americans (61%) consider themselves to be “living paycheck to paycheck,” up from 58% in March of this year. Seven in 10 American workers say they would need an annual salary of no more than $150,000 a year to feel financially comfortable. However, the survey reveals that homeowners feel significantly less financial stress than those who do not own a home with only thirty percent of homeowners saying they are “very stressed” compared to almost half of those who do not own a home (46%).

The survey also highlights that most American workers (60%) have a retirement plan through their work, either a 401k or 403b. Among those who contribute to their retirement plans, almost half (46%) contribute “as much as they can afford” and just more than half (54%) who contribute to their 401k say they know what investments comprise it. A majority of those with a 401k (56%) say they are not on track with their annual 401k savings to live comfortably, those with lower incomes are less likely to say they are on course and a slight majority of workers over age 65 (53%) say they will be able to retire comfortably with their savings.

“Inflation is still the primary source of stress for Americans these days, but this survey reveals pockets of relief for certain lucky people,” says Laura Wronski, Director of Research at SurveyMonkey. “If you’re lucky enough to own a home, you probably have a very low mortgage rate; that alone clearly relieves some of the day-to-day financial strain.”

Additional key findings from the CNBC Your Money Survey include:

Inflation remains the top financial stressor impacting Americans:

  • More than half of Americans (61%) say inflation contributes to their financial stress, up two points from March and holding the top spot as the primary financial stressor.
  • President Joe Biden’s overall approval rating remains underwater (41% approve, 56% disapprove), but even fewer people approve of how he is helping with their own personal finances (36% approve, 60% disapprove).

More findings on homeowners and mortgages:

  • Half of Americans (50%) are homeowners, with higher rates of homeownership among whites, those with college degrees, and those with higher incomes.
  • Among those with a mortgage, about nine in 10 (88%) have a mortgage rate of 6.99% or lower, while the average rate for a new mortgage today is 7.61%.
  • 27% of mortgage holders have a sub-3% mortgage rate, with younger adults, those with a college degree, and those with higher incomes more likely to have this low-rate mortgage.
  • 30% of homeowners do not have a mortgage on their home.

CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent Sharon Epperson will reveal the results of the CNBC Your Money Survey today, Thursday, September 7 throughout the network’s Business Day programming. For more information on the survey including the full results, methodology and in-depth articles, go to CNBC’s digital hub, and Sharon Epperson’s story about the results can also be found here:

CNBC Your Money Survey is part of CNBC’s financial education initiative, CNBC Your Money, which is dedicated to helping people manage, grow and protect their money so they can live ambitiously. The initiative, which is an extension of the CNBC Your Money editorial brand, further amplifies the organization’s content, helps to meet the needs of a core but underserved audience segment. Through access and advocacy, the initiative educates people about their personal finances across every life stage from school age to retirement.


The CNBC|SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted August 21-25, 2023 among a national sample of 4,324 adults in the U.S. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

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