March 14th, 2022
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – March 14, 2021 – The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is causing Americans to readjust their financial habits and mute their optimism about their financial future, according to new research from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). This, combined with inflationary pressure, has the potential to dent the resurgence of the U.S. economy.
Almost half (45%) of Americans say they think the current geopolitical environment will impact their spending and lifestyle in the coming months, with finances already strained by inflation:
“The conflict in Ukraine and its impact on already high inflation is forcing U.S. consumers to reassess their finances and position themselves to weather potential future economic turbulence,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual US. “Those who have been able to build good financial habits and shore up their finances during the pandemic will be best positioned during what could be a transitory period.”
With the future uncertain, Americans’ ‘wait’n see’ approach could impact the U.S. economy with Millennials and Gen X, the most cautious.
While many anticipate a wider economic impact due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, only 14% have taken immediate action in changing their savings and investment strategy. Of these few, men were more likely to react: 17% of men made changes to their finances compared to 10% of women. Men (18%) are significantly more likely than women (9%) to say that the current conflict has made them more likely to invest in cryptocurrencies.
More broadly, across generations consumers are delaying important purchases due to inflation, with Millennials and Gen X (67%) seeing the biggest impact compared to 52% of Gen Z and 44% of Baby Boomers. Though Gen Z isn’t leading the overall delay in purchases, they were more likely (49%) to delay the purchase of gifts for others, compared to 31% of Millennials, 30% of Gen X, and 32% of Baby Boomers.
One silver lining: American consumers have made financial strides since the beginning of the pandemic, with Millennials standing out.
Prior to the Ukraine conflict, Americans, including Millennials, took positive financial steps to help them better position themselves for a post-COVID world.
And a good number of Americans were eager to leave the pandemic behind them. Twenty-four percent of respondents declared, “It's time to move on whether the pandemic is over or not,” and 33% noted, “The pandemic is on its way to being an endemic like the flu.”
“With several historic events threatening to hinder finances, consumers are taking pause as uncertainty remains the only constant,” said Fanning. “However, many Americans have made positive financial strides through the pandemic which could lead to renewed optimism once the current conflict ends, and inflationary pressures subside.”
The MassMutual Consumer Spending & Saving Index tracks financial outlooks and behaviors in a changing economic environment. It offers an in-depth snapshot of people’s saving and spending behaviors and examines outlooks and attitudes being tapped to navigate the financial impacts of the pandemic and the changing state of the economy. Commissioned by MassMutual, the research was conducted online by PSB from February 18-22, among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+. Following the outbreak conflict in Ukraine, PSB conducted a follow-up survey from March 4-7 among a nationally representative sample of 500 U.S. adults ages 18+ to measure updated sentiment.
MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. Founded in 1851, the company has been continually guided by one consistent purpose: we help people secure their future and protect the ones they love. With a focus on delivering long-term value, MassMutual offers a wide range of protection, accumulation, wealth management and retirement products and services. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.