Inflation Fears Force 76% of Americans to Rethink Financial Choices

Calm, focused bearded man with glasses manages finances by phone while sitting at home in the kitchen, he looks at the receipt he holds in his hand, next to him is an open laptop.
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With inflation at a 40-year high — the Labor Department released its Consumer Price Index (CPI) March 10, and over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.9% — it’s no wonder that an overwhelming majority of Americans fear higher prices will force them to rethink their financial choices in the coming months.

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Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase, according to the Labor Department.

And now, a new CNBC + Acorns Invest in You survey, conducted by Momentive, found that inflation is weighing heavily on people’s minds. A full 48% of respondents claimed that they are thinking about rising prices all the time, and a staggering 76% of those polled say they’re worried higher prices will force them to rethink their financial choices in the coming months.

In terms of age groups, the survey notes that the most concerned demographic is the 35-to-64 age group (81% say they are concerned), followed by the 18-34 cohort (77%) and seniors 65+ (64%).

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Amid high prices, American chose to cut back on several activities — largely dining out (53% of respondents said they were dining out less) and driving (39%), the survey notes.    

Should higher prices persist, most respondents say they’ll consider cutting back on dining out (52%) or driving (42%), followed by canceling a vacation (40%) or a monthly subscription (36%). 

Another key finding of the survey notes that 52% of adults polled say they are under more financial stress now than a year ago, with 25% saying they felt financially stressed “all the time” over the last year while 41% say they’ve felt financially stressed “sometimes.”

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Gas prices have caused respondents the most financial stress over the last year (21% of those polled saying as much), followed by housing costs (16%) and food costs (13%), per the survey data.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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