By Suzanne Woolley
Inflation is worrying middle-income Americans, with 49% choosing the threat of rising prices as the largest economic challenge facing the U.S. in 2022, according to a Primerica survey.
Some 68% of people surveyed said their income is falling behind the cost of living, and slightly less expect their economic prospects to be worse (28%) or the same (38%) this year. Primerica’s U.S. Middle-Income Financial Security Monitor polled 925 adults who earned between $30,000 and $100,000 in 2020.
Inflation seemed to be everywhere respondents turned. People noticed rising costs the most on groceries and gas (about 90%), as well as on local home prices (87%), restaurants and bars (80%), new or used cars (81%), health care (74%), taxes (72%), entertainment (66%), rent (60%) and child care (44%).
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Rising prices were the second-most common personal concern among respondents at 33%, following physical health at 38%. Worries about paying for groceries rose to 19%, up from 12% in a similar September 2020 survey.
In a separate survey by Quicken Inc., 71% of respondents ranked inflation among the top 3 issues causing them the most worry. It was followed by new Covid-19 variants, disruptions in the supply chain and a stock market crash. Two areas that tend to top worry lists — retirement and job security — fell to the bottom of the list of concerns.
In the Primerica survey, nearly 90% of those polled expect the prices of household items to continue to increase. Housing prices are also expected to keep rising (78%) — great for those who own homes, but not great for those who want to buy. Only 18% expect Covid-19 to gradually disappear, with 82% predicting that variants would continue to develop and spread.
As for the stock market, when the survey was taken in December 2021 24% of respondents thought the stock market would rise this year, 50% figured it would stay about the same, and 26% expected it to crash.
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