AARP’s Financial Security Trends Survey: Attitudes of Adults 30 and Older

In January 2022, AARP launched its new Financial Security Trends Survey, designed to monitor the financial experiences, behaviors and attitudes of adults over 30. The first wave of this nationally representative survey includes more than 6,000 adults ages 30 and older, including oversamples of Black/African American respondents and Hispanic/Latino respondents. The survey examines overall financial well-being, debt, emergency savings, retirement savings, spending and financial worries and will be repeated periodically to identify changes over time.

This first article on the results of the survey focuses on workers (that is, adults who are not yet retired).

Main findings

Rising prices and rising expenses are worrying workers.

Rising prices are weighing on workers over 30, making it difficult to cover day-to-day expenses, manage debt and save for the future.

Rising prices are the main financial concern of workers.

More than three in four (78%) workers ages 30 and older worry that prices will rise faster than their income, including a large majority of black workers (72%), Hispanic workers (81%) and workers non-Hispanic whites (77%).

And its impacts are already being felt by many.

About one in four (24%) say their financial situation is worse than 12 months ago.

Among those whose situation is worse than 12 months ago, the main reasons are:

  • Increase in expenses (52%)
  • Higher debt (31%)

Workers aged 30 and over say their spending in various areas is higher than 12 months ago. Expenses that are particularly likely to be higher include:

  • Food/Grocery (66%)
  • Transportation (62%)

Many are struggling with debt.

More than four out of five workers (85%) over the age of 30 have debt. Among those in debt, about two in five (42%) say they have more debt than they can handle.

Debt and increased expenses make it difficult to save for the future.

  • Two in five workers (39%) say they have no emergency savings.
  • One in five workers (20%) has saved nothing for retirement.

Sarah J. Greer