Amid rising prices and a changing economy, many Americans question their ability to meet long-term financial goals, according to Country Financial's Security Index.
The survey polled 1,023 U.S. adults from March 18 to March 20, and more than half believe swelling costs may have a "big negative impact" on plans like buying a home or the ability to retire comfortably.
"Everyone's concerned about inflation," said Troy Frerichs, vice president of investment services at Country Financial, who wasn't surprised by worries about growing expenses.
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However, there's a stark contrast between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, he said.
"We came out of last year in great shape," Frerichs explained. One quarter into 2022, however, the findings show there's now unease about reaching milestones.
About nine in 10 Americans are now concerned about inflation, and six in 10 are "very concerned," up from 48% during the fourth quarter of 2021, the findings show.
"We were dealing with a little bit of inflation at the end of 2021," Frerichs said. "But it's been obviously way more impactful here in the first quarter with everything else going on."
Many Americans believe big financial goals may be out of reach, with buying a home, paying off debt and saving for retirement seen as the most challenging, the survey shows.
Other concerns included starting or raising a family, buying a car, traveling and investing in the stock market.
"Taking all this into account, we always advocate a long-term view on most things," Frerichs said.
While it's normal to notice higher prices at the grocery store or gas station, you're more likely to have an emotional response without a long-term plan, he said.
But it's important to consider how growing costs may affect your monthly budget, and ultimately, how it impacts your financial plan, Frerichs said.
He suggests creating a budget, establishing financial goals and working with a financial advisor. If you already have a plan, it may be a good time to revisit objectives.
"If someone can't sleep at night, that's always a good time to check things out, and to stress test the plan," Frerichs added.
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