Rising Financial Concerns Among High-Earning Americans Amidst Inflation and Elevated Borrowing Costs

Despite their six-figure salaries, a significant number of Americans are increasingly worried about their ability to pay bills, highlighting the pervasive impact of high inflation and elevated borrowing costs. According to a recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, nearly one in three Americans earning $100,000 or more annually are concerned about making ends meet over the next 12 months.

Growing Financial Anxiety Among High Earners

The survey, conducted from March 22 to April 6, reveals a notable increase in financial anxiety among wealthier Americans. Specifically, 30.8% of consumers earning between $100,000 and $149,999 are concerned about their financial stability over the next six months, a significant rise from 21.3% the previous year. Similarly, 32.5% of those earning $150,000 or more expressed worries about their ability to cover expenses, up from 21.7% last year.

This trend is particularly striking given that these concerns are more prevalent among higher earners compared to those making $70,000 to $99,999, where 23% reported financial worries. Overall, about one in three Americans (34.9%) is anxious about making ends meet, up from 28.7% the previous year.

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Impact on Spending Habits

The financial pressure has led many high-income individuals to adjust their spending habits. Over 43% of consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending, including dining out and entertainment. This trend is also evident among high earners, with 37.1% of those making more than $150,000 a year reducing their discretionary expenditures.

Additionally, some Americans are cutting back on spending on essentials such as food and medical care. About 23.5% of all respondents reported reducing essential spending, compared to 17.1% of high earners. To manage financial stress, 15.3% of higher earners are taking on additional jobs, 10.2% are borrowing more, and 14.3% are withdrawing money from their retirement savings early.

Long-Term Financial Concerns

The survey also indicates a rise in long-term financial concerns. Among those earning $100,000 to $149,999, 32.3% are worried about making ends meet in the next seven to twelve months, up from 26.5% a year ago. For those earning $150,000 or more, 33% expressed concerns about their financial future, a significant jump from 19.8% the previous year.

Optimism Amidst Concerns

Despite these financial worries, there are signs of optimism. A growing share of wealthier consumers expect higher incomes this year. Notably, 40.8% of those earning $150,000 or more anticipate an increase in income, compared to 20% last year. Additionally, many consumers report feeling more optimistic about their financial situation than a year ago.

Continued Spending on Travel

Interestingly, despite financial concerns, Americans continue to spend aggressively on travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened a record 2.99 million people at airports on a recent Sunday, and the agency is preparing for a record-setting summer of air travel, particularly around the Fourth of July holiday. TSA expects to screen over 32 million people from June 27 to July 8, a 5.4% increase from last year.


The findings from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia survey underscore the widespread impact of inflation and high borrowing costs on American consumers, even those with six-figure incomes. As financial pressures mount, many are adjusting their spending habits and expressing long-term concerns about their financial stability. However, there remains a glimmer of optimism as some high earners expect increased incomes and continue to indulge in travel, reflecting the complex and multifaceted nature of consumer behaviour in today’s economic climate.


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