New York, N.Y., April 5, 2022 – Path to Prosperity: The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional ConfidenceTM, first fielded in 2016, explores what drives and connects emotional and financial well-being among working adults. The overall Financial and Emotional Confidence IndexSM 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 IndexSM with a scale of one to 10, of overall financial and emotional confidence. The overall Financial and Emotional Confidence IndexSM 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 IndexSM 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 IndexSM 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.”

To access the full report, click here.

About The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian Life)

Every day, Guardian provides Americans the security they deserve through our insurance and wealth management products and services. Since our founding in 1860, our long-term view has helped our customers prepare for whatever life brings whether starting a family, planning for the future or taking care of employees. Today, we're a Fortune 250 mutual company and a leading provider of life, disability, dental, and other benefits for individuals, at the workplace and through government sponsored programs. The Guardian community of over 9,000 employees and our network of over 2,500 financial representatives is committed to serving with expertise when, where and how our clients need us. Our commitments rest on a strong financial foundation, which at year-end 2021 included $10.7 billion in capital and $1.9 billion in operating income. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

About the Research Methodology

5,012 workers 18+ working full-time or part-time, never retired, with household incomes of $50K or more.

This includes an oversample of 3,360 workers with household income of $100K+.  The oversample was weighted down to naturally occurring proportions.

This Working Americans Study was conducted online July 1, 2021, through July 19, 2021 and is trended to the previous wave conducted in 2016 where comparable.

The attitudinal segmentation scheme that was developed in 2016 was applied to the 2021 data. It is based on the same methodology to identify any changes to the segments over the past five years.

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Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. 

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