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Americans Are Delaying Financial Milestones Due To Economic Hardship

Derek Wolfe

Updated: November 21, 2022

delaying financial milestones
Editor’s Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: We measure progress across various aspects of our lives by marking milestones. Financially, we can measure it by the excess funds in our savings, the quality of our lifestyle, a new car, or a new home. For most Americans, such measurements will have to be put on the back burner. The economy is forcing many households to delay or even abandon certain milestones because of the poor state of the economy. According to a survey, this majority comprises 54% of all Americans. What started off as an emergency measure to stimulate the economy ended as a near-surefire way to trigger its self-destruction.

Approximately 58% of higher income households, earning an annual income of $100,000 or more, were more likely to have delayed at least one financial milestone.

The majority of Americans are delaying financial milestones and even abandoning certain events and activities because of the current state of the economy. 

According to a new survey from Bankrate, 53% of Americans have had to delay milestones such as home improvements and renovations as well as buying or leasing a car. 

Meanwhile, 58% of Americans have had to miss out on certain activities such as postponing vacations and opting out of dinners with family or friends. 

The data revealed that 15% of respondents had to hold off on purchasing a home, while 10% have had to push off furthering their education. Nine percent have pushed off retiring, 7% pushed off career advancements and 7% even postponed getting married. Additionally, another 7% pushed off having children. 

The stress about the economy has even made people push off small activities, anything from going to amusement parks, the aquarium, the movie theater or attending a live arts or professional sports event. 

"Whether it be inflation, rising interest rates, recession fears, market volatility, or something similar, concerns about the economy are high," Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride said.  

In October, consumer prices rose 7.7% from a year earlier and 0.4% from September, according to government data. Althought, the year-over-year increase, down from 8.2% in September, was the smallest rise since January, prices remain elevated as the Federal Reserve continues to battle inflation. 

Mortgage rates also breached 7% for the second time in the past few weeks – a high not seen in more than two decades. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported last week that the average on the key 30-year rate rose to 7.08%. A year ago the average rate was 2.98%.

MORTGAGE REFINANCING DRIES UP

Consequently, sales of new homes tumbled in September as high home prices and borrowing rates scared off prospective homebuyers. 

Fifty-seven percent of people say the state of the economy has had a negative impact on their quality of life over the past year. Only about one in eight people have said the impact has been positive, according to the survey. 

Those who have said their life has been negatively impacted are more likely to have delayed a financial milestone compared to those who say their life has been positively impacted or not impacted at all, according to Bankrate.  

Of all the generations, millennials, who are between 26 and 41 years old, are the most likely to have delayed at least one milestone.

The data also showed that 58% of higher income households, earning an annual income of $100,000 or more, were more likely to have delayed at least one financial milestone. That compares to 55% of households earning between $50,000-$99,999 that delayed at least one financial milestone and 54% of households earning less than $50,000 annually. 

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Although travel has surged with full flights and sold-out hotels McBride questioned if the surge could have been even stronger if so many people didn't delay their plans. 

"Over 1 in 3 (37%) Americans have skipped taking a vacation in the past year due to the state of the economy," he said. "This tends to be the first discretionary expense to get cut when households are queasy about the economic path ahead."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Originally published on Fox Business.

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