These Are Americans' Top Financial Concerns for 2022

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  • Recent data reveal that Americans are worried about inflation, unplanned bills, and the impact of the pandemic on the economy.
  • There are steps you can take to address these fears if you feel similarly.

How do yours compare?

As we approach 2022, we can breathe a sigh of relief on certain fronts. The U.S. economy is in much better shape than it was a year ago, and the unemployment rate is down substantially. Jobs are plentiful, wages are rising in many industries, and COVID-19 vaccines are not only widely available but approved for a greater portion of the population than they were back in the spring.

Despite all of this, it's natural to have financial concerns going into the new year. Here are Americans' primary worries, according to a recent Fidelity survey.

1. Inflation/rising living costs

In recent months, the cost of everyday expenses has soared due to rampant inflation. Unfortunately, that pattern could continue into 2022. But that doesn't mean you're doomed to get hurt financially.

For one thing, setting a budget could make it easier to track your spending and spend more judiciously in the face of rising costs. You can also pick up a side hustle to give your income a nice boost and make it easier to deal with rising costs that are beyond your control.

These days, there are many side gigs you can choose that allow you to set your own hours and schedule. In fact, some side hustles don't even require you to leave your home. If the raise you'll be getting at work isn't enough to cover your increasing living expenses, or you won't be getting a raise, then it pays to research different options for a second job and see which one is most suitable for you to try out.

2. Unexpected expenses

It's natural to be worried about unplanned expenses -- things like home repairs, medical bills, and other surprises you can't control. A good way to avoid having those unanticipated expenses land you in debt is to have a fully loaded emergency fund. That means socking away three to six month's worth of essential living expenses in a savings account.

If you don't have a complete emergency fund right now, a side hustle could be your ticket to building one. You can also make headway by banking your raise if you're getting a pay boost from your main job and don't need it to cover your regular bills.

3. The impact of COVID-19 on the economy

While the economy has improved since the start of the pandemic, right now, COVID-19 cases are surging once again. And with new variants in the mix, it's hard to predict what trajectory the outbreak will take and how it will affect the economy.

If that's something that's been keeping you up at night, once again, an emergency fund could serve as a source of comfort. Knowing you have cash reserves to tap could help you stay calmer in the face of potential shutdowns and layoffs. Similarly, lining up a side hustle could help you feel more secure, knowing that you have a second source of income to fall back on should your main job get compromised.

In these uncertain times, it's natural to have financial worries. If yours are similar to the ones above, you may be able to address them by putting yourself on a budget, boosting your income with a second job, and building yourself an emergency fund to serve as your personal safety net.

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