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Financial Concerns Prompt Most Workers to Tighten Belts

Most workers have proactively taken steps to curb spending over worry about layoffs, the job market and the economy, according to the results of a recent survey.

Zety polled 1,000 U.S.-based workers in mid-February to develop a better understanding of the relationship between people’s career, their financial situations and their spending habits.

According to Zety’s Financial Habits and Health Survey, concerns about layoffs, perceptions of a cooling job market and overall inflation have caused a majority of workers to reduce their spending. Roughly two-thirds (60%) report that they are trying to spend less because they’re worried about layoffs. Half (53%) are reducing their spending due to concerns about the cooling job market, and 85% said inflation has impacted their spending habits.

Additional findings about the state of workers’ financial habits and health include:

Workers’ financial situation

More than 4 in 10 (42%) said their financial situation is less stable today compared to last year, with 23% describing themselves as much less financially stable now than last year and 19% as slightly less financially stable).

  • 36% said their financial situation is about the same.
  • 22% reported they are more stable financially.

2024 financial challenges

The top financial challenges employees face in 2024 include contributing to one’s savings account (20%), maintaining the same standard of living as in 2023 (17%), paying the bills on time (16%) and paying off credit card debt (15%).

  • About 1 in 10 (12%) said they do not have any financial struggles.

Salary

Almost half (45%) of workers feel that they are underpaid (26% very underpaid, 19% slightly underpaid).

  • 1 in 10 say they are overpaid, and 45% believe they are paid fairly.

Bonuses

For half (51%) of those surveyed, their bonuses were nonexistent or lower than expected in 2023.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) did not get a bonus in 2023, even though they were expecting one.
  • For 18%, it was a little lower, and for 15% a lot lower, than expected.

“Robert Kiyosaki once said that money is not the most important thing in life, but it does affect everything that is important. Looking at the study findings, it’s hard not to agree with these words,” said Dominika Kowalska, career expert at Zety. “Lack of financial stability and income-related fears negatively influence our overall well-being. It’s clear the overall economy and cooling labor market have caused many to become less confident about their employment and financial situations,”

Additional findings

  • 69% of participants prioritize a good work-life balance over a higher salary. Respondents reported they would not accept a different job for a 30% or higher salary if they knew they would have a horrible work-life balance. Similarly, 57% would not accept such an offer if it meant having a toxic boss.
  • Salary range (26%), health benefits/insurance (17%), flexible schedule options (13%) and details about job duties (13%) are considered the most important information in a job posting (excluding job summary and minimum education/work experience).
  • 66% wish companies posted the salary ranges of all their employees.

To view the full report with more information, visit zety.com/blog/finances-and-careers.

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