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While adults 30 and older say their sense of personal financial security hasn’t changed much over the past year, they revealed increased optimism about the future. This insight comes from the latest AARP Financial Security Trends Survey conducted in January 2024, in which 41% of respondents reported they believe their finances will be better 12 months from now. That number is up from 39% in January 2023 and 36% in January 2022.

Men’s sense of financial security has declined.

Beyond the positive outlook, this recent survey identifies a noteworthy decline in overall sense of financial security among men. Specifically, men of all ages and income groups feel less secure than they did in January 2022.

Today, 42% of all men ages 30-plus describe their financial situation as “only fair” or “poor,” up from 34% when the survey began in January 2022. This decline appears to be driven by increased difficulties managing debt, building savings, and even covering basic expenses: 

  • 40% of men today are worried about basic expenses, up from 33% in January 2022.
  • 43% of men carry a credit card balance, up from 38% in January 2022. 
  • Just 62% of men have emergency savings today, down from 69% in January 2022.
  • Among men who are regularly saving for retirement, just 28% are saving 10% or more of their income, down from 35% who were saving 10% or more in January 2022.

This shift in men’s sense of financial security may reflect the cumulative effects of the higher than average inflation of the past couple years, which may have made long-term saving more difficult for men, adding financial pressure as they approach their retirement years. 

Although men’s sense of financial security has declined, they remain better off than women.

Despite the drop in the share of men who feel good about their finances, many indicators suggest that men’s financial positions are likely still stronger than women’s. 

Men are more likely than women to have emergency savings (62% of men vs. 58% of women); men (42%) are less likely than women (47%) to be worried than about managing debt, and men with debt are more likely than women to view their debt as manageable (61% of men with debt vs. 52% of women with debt). Also, men have saved more for retirement compared to women. In fact, among adults who regularly save for retirement, roughly four in 10 men believe they are saving enough to be secure in retirement, compared to just three in 10 women.

Low-income and single adults continue to feel less secure.

In addition to these trends, certain segments of the 30-plus population consistently express a substantially lower sense of financial security than their counterparts, especially adults with low household incomes as well as single adults, who tend to have much lower household incomes than married adults. 

The unfortunate reality is that it is harder for those with low incomes to save for retirement and emergencies, and they’re also more likely to be carrying unmanageable levels of debt. 

Economic factors affect sense of financial security.

On the positive side, it appears that the lower inflation rates at the end of last year and the rebound of the stock market last year helped keep overall sense of financial security relatively steady from January 2023 to January 2024. For example, concern about rising prices remained flat — 73% expressed concerns about prices today and 74%, a statistically equivalent share, expressed concerns in January 2023 — but is below the 78% recorded during the steep inflation of July 2022. 

And 25% of adults who feel that their situation has improved since last year attribute this improvement to investment gains, up from 12% in January 2023.

However, despite the recent slowing of inflation, the higher inflation of the past couple years has had lingering consequences for debt and savings. Although the share of adults ages 30-plus who carry debt remains stable at 80%, what has changed is how much debt they are carrying. The average amount of credit card debt carried over month to month has significantly increased from $7,538 in January 2023 to $8,169 in January 2024. 

And, among adults who are regularly saving for retirement, just 36% expect to have enough money in retirement to be financially secure if they continue saving at their current rate, while 33% say that they will not have enough money (up from 29% in January 2023). Another 31% don’t know if they will have enough. The increase in the share of retirement savers who don’t expect to have enough money in retirement comes specifically among adults 50-plus, that is, those much closer to retirement age. These concerns highlight the importance of having a plan for retirement. Plans need to address not only how to build savings during working years but also how to spend money in retirement in a way that will allow it to last.


Findings are based on AARP’s annual Financial Security Trends Survey, which is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of AARP to monitor the financial experiences, behaviors, and attitudes of adults ages 30-plus. 

The January 2024 survey was conducted January 3–29, 2024 among 8,368 adults 30 and over across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey includes oversamples of Black and African American adults, Hispanic and Latino adults, Asian American adults, and LGBTQ+ adults. Data for the general sample were collected using NORC’s AmeriSpeak® Panel as well as its Foresight 50+® Panel; both are probability-based panels designed to be representative of adults in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To achieve the desired oversamples of Black adults, Hispanic adults, Asian American adults, and LGBTQ+ adults, respondents from the Dynata nonprobability online opt-in panel were included. The January 2024 survey included a total of 2,048 Black respondents, 1,801 Hispanic respondents, 1,172 Asian American adults, and 1,228 LGBTQ+ adults. TrueNorth® calibration weighting was used in the oversamples to combine the probability and nonprobability samples and reduce bias in the nonprobability sample. The survey was fielded semiannually during 2022 and 2023 but will be fielded annually moving forward. 

For more information, contact S. Kathi Brown of AARP Research at Media inquiries should be directed to External Relations at

Suggested citation:

Brown, S. Kathi. AARP Financial Security Trends Survey, January 2024. Washington, DC: AARP Research, April 2024.