New York, N.Y., April 7, 2022 – Path to Prosperity: The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence, first fielded in 2016, explores what drives and connects emotional and financial well-being among working adults. The overall Financial and Emotional Confidence Index in 2021 measured 6.5, up from 6.3 in 2016.
“The study shows that income is not the sole driver of confidence,” said Michael Ferik, Head of Individual Markets at Guardian. “The findings reinforce the need to pair behaviors with long-term planning to set a strong foundation linked to both financial and emotional confidence.”
The research yielded several key insights. Three out of 4 respondents say they feel stressed and concerned, and 37% say they avoid dealing with their finances because it is too overwhelming. Two out of three say they are spenders, not savers. Only one out of three say they are focused on long-term financial strategies versus short term.
Model Behaviors Identified
The study identifies four model behaviors for consumers to help improve their financial and emotional confidence, regardless of income level.
Live within your means and have a long-term view. Creating a budget and writing down a long-term financial strategy sets a strong financial foundation
Know how to balance risk. A combination of protection and investment products can help lead to higher confidence.
Leverage relationships with financial professionals. Seek guidance from professionals who can implement strategies for creating income streams and discuss impending opportunities and risks.
Pursue a financial education. Exploring online tools, attending personal finance webinars on your own or through your workplace will provide key economic trends and market news.
The model behaviors were developed after analyzing four financial profiles outlined in the study: Day-to-Day Decision-Makers, Retirement Realists, Ambitious Spenders, and Confident Planners. These four profiles were grouped based upon their approach to life and money, financial decision-making, sources of stress, drivers of happiness, and technology usage.
Each profile has a unique score based upon the Guardian Financial and Emotional Confidence Index with a scale of one to 10, of overall financial and emotional confidence. The overall Financial and Emotional Confidence Index score for all respondents was 6.5 out of 10, which is a slight increase from 2016 when the score was 6.3. Confident Planners had a mean Financial and Emotional Confidence Index score of 8.2. When it comes to their finances, they have an optimistic outlook, a realistic set of expectations and they pair their priorities with highly effective habits.
“Examining the behaviors of those with high Financial and Emotional Confidence Index scores reinforces that specific behaviors and attitudes resulted in greater well-being and heightened financial confidence,” said Ferik. “Modelling the behaviors of Confident Planners – such as living within your means, setting a long-term financial plan, leveraging relationships with financial professionals, and proactively pursuing a financial education – can improve overall confidence.”