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40% Of Americans Doubt Financial Independence In 5 Years: Survey

Increased cost of living, unexpected medical expenses, pay cuts, job loss, and personal debt cited as primary setbacks.
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Four in 10 Americans don’t believe they’ll achieve financial independence within the next five years, according to a new survey according to OnePoll.

Additionally, 42% of respondents have experienced significant financial setbacks in the past three years.

A stash of cash and an iPhone that includes a calculator with expenses including papers in the background creating goals. Living expenses have been a culprit for most Americans in order to cut down on the unnecessary features. TIMEMIROSHNICHENKO/SWNS TALKER

(Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels)

The survey of 2,000 Americans found that an increased cost of living expenses (68%) was the primary culprit.

Other setbacks were found to be unexpected medical expenses (59%), pay cuts (53%), and job loss (49%), with many also saddled with high levels of personal debt (41%).

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as an impressive nine out of 10 who experienced financial setbacks also stated that they have started their journey to recovery.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Prosper Marketplace, found that the most effective path to financial recovery was simply sticking to a budget (72%).

That was followed in popularity by securing new employment or exploring supplementary sources of income (56%).

Another 56% of participants said they implemented debt management strategies and repayment plans to regain their financial stability. Over half of the respondents (51%) have set their sights on becoming debt-free as part of their long-term plans.

A man putting a coin in a plastic piggy bank. Most Americans have been transferring debt to credit card where they’re able to pay off their expenses. JOSLYN PICKENS/SWNS TALKER

In terms of lowering debt, many (69%) suggest transferring credit card balances to lower-interest cards. Six in 10 would also consider transferring credit card balances to a new card offering a low or 0% APR on balance transfers for a limited time.

“Refinancing debt to lower interest alternatives is a smart move,” said David Kimball, CEO at Prosper, a consumer fintech company. “We see people consolidate debt using unsecured personal loans, home equity lines of credit, or home equity loans. Homeowners can access larger loans at better rates secured by their home equity, without having to sacrifice their low mortgage rate with a cash out re-fi.”

The top three strategies to improve their own financial control were found to be prioritizing saving and establishing an emergency fund (54%), setting clear financial goals and formulating plans to achieve them (53%), and diligently creating and adhering to a budget (43%).

For long-term plans, four out of ten respondents expressed a desire to buy a house or property, establish an emergency fund, and save for retirement.

Additionally, 49% of respondents have chosen to invest in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, while 42% have explored alternative investment options like real estate investment trusts (REITs) and peer-to-peer lending.

And if people had additional funds, they said they’d invest in assets paying regular dividends (51%), alternative investments such as real estate and peer-to-peer lending (49%), and rental property (35%).

“With recent market volatility, there’s been increased interest in alternative investments, like peer-to-peer lending, that can provide a passive or secondary income stream,” Kimball said.

Additionally, 38% of those surveyed have the ambitious goal of venturing into entrepreneurship.

A notable 50% of those polled have already done so, by creating and selling digital products.


  • Savings or emergency funds – 51%
  • Credit cards – 46%
  • Home equity loans or lines of credit – 42%
  • Personal loans – 41%
  • Tapping into retirement savings (e.g., 401(k), IRA) – 26%


  • Prioritizing saving and building an emergency fund – 54%
  • Setting financial goals and establishing a plan to achieve them – 53%
  • Creating and sticking to a budget – 43%
  • Paying off debts and managing loans effectively – 40%
  • Seeking financial advice or consulting with a financial planner – 17%


  • Investments paying regular dividends – 51%
  • Alternative investments such as real estate investments trusts (REITs) and peer-to-peer lending – 49%
  • Rental property – 35%
  • Annuities – 32%
  • Bonds and Treasury securities – 26%

Produced in association with SWNS Research

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld

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