As Americans wind down a bumpy 2021, they're bracing for more turbulence in the new year. A new Bankrate survey finds two-thirds of U.S. adults don't expect their personal finances to improve in 2022. Among respondents, 26% say their financial situation will get worse, and 42% say it will stay about the same. Only 33% expect their financial situation to improve, and only 9% expect significant improvement.
"This is a stark contrast from where we were coming into 2021," says Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate. "At the beginning of the year, those expecting their financial situation to improve outnumbered those expecting it to get worse by a three-to-one margin."
The survey also finds a clear answer as to what is behind Americans' financial pessimism. "The number one runaway reason people are not optimistic about their financial situation next year is inflation," says McBride. "It was cited by 70 percent of those who expect their financial situation to get worse."
"Inflation is stretching household budgets, and it's outpaced even the robust income growth that many households have seen this year," he continues. "As a result, what you're seeing is inflation is weighing heavily on consumer confidence."
Not surprisingly, voters also place much of the blame for surging inflation and their poor financial outlook on those currently in charge of the country. "Only about one in seven people who are expecting their finances to improve credit political leaders in D.C.," says McBride. "But, 57 percent of those expecting their situation to get worse lay the blame at the feet of political leaders."