Americans say their financial situation worsened in 2023, what will 2024 bring? 

  • More than half of Americans (53%) say their financial situation worsened in 2023.
  • 69% of Americans have financial regrets from 2023. The most common regret is not saving money (31%).
  • Nearly half of Americans (46%) expect to have credit card debt heading into 2024, and among those who do, a quarter (25%) expect to have $10,000 or more in debt. 

It’s time to say farewell to 2023 and all of the financial turbulence that came with it. As we near the end of the year, there’s no better time for Americans to reflect on the past 12 months and make a plan for their finances in the new year. 

According to a recent survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Intuit Credit Karma among 2,098 U.S. adults ages 18+, more than half of Americans (53%) say their financial situation worsened in 2023, and this is especially true for those with annual household incomes of less than $50K (63%).

Financial setbacks made it difficult to achieve milestones

In addition to the plethora of financial challenges consumers faced this past year, 65% of Americans experienced financial setbacks in 2023. The most common setbacks included unexpected expenses, such as an unexpected medical bill or rent increase (23%), income reductions (19%), increased debt (19%) and credit score declines (17%). Others experienced depleted savings (16%) and some even struggled to afford necessities, including groceries and bills (15%). 

These financial setbacks may have held some consumers back from achieving major financial milestones. Nearly 2 in 3 Americans (65%) had to put off a major financial milestone in 2023, with 28% of Americans putting off taking a vacation, 21% putting off buying a car or paying off credit card debt, 18% putting off starting an emergency fund and 17% put off contributing to their retirement savings. Worth noting, in today’s housing market, more than one-in-ten (11%) put off buying a home. 

Setbacks and milestones aside, 69% of Americans say they’re heading into 2024 with financial regrets. More than 3 in 10 Americans (31%) say they regret not saving any money, 22% regret overspending and 18% regret making impulse purchases. With credit card balances reaching record highs and housing becoming increasingly unaffordable, Americans also regret taking on too much credit card debt (16%) and paying too much for housing (9%).

Out with the old, in with the new: Regrets push Americans to develop new financial habits 

Despite financial challenges in 2023, the majority of consumers (73%) say they developed new financial habits. Three in 10 Americans (30%) say they started saving more money, 27% started following a budget and 25% started monitoring their transactions and spending in 2023. 

Along with developing new financial habits in 2023, 83% of Americans say they plan to make changes to improve their financial standing in 2024. That includes changes such as cutting back on unnecessary spending (40%), starting to save money (38%) and even taking on a side gig (23%) to earn more money. 

Nearly half of Americans will start 2024 in the red 

While nearly three quarters of Americans (72%) say they have clearly defined personal finance goals for 2024, many will start in the red. According to the study, nearly half of Americans (46%) expect to have credit card debt heading into 2024. Of those who expect to have credit card debt, 74% expect to have $1,000 or more in debt, 42% expect to have $5,000 or more in debt and a quarter (25%) expect to have $10,000 or more in debt. 

Americans feel uneasy about the economy and their finances in 2024 

Beyond debt, a majority of Americans (78%) have financial concerns heading into 2024. The most common financial concern among consumers is that the economy will enter a recession (34%). Others worry their income won’t keep up with the cost of living (31%), they’ll be unable to save any money (29%), the Fed will continue to raise interest rates (21%), they won’t be able to climb out of debt (18%), they won’t be able to afford necessities (17%), the stock market will crash (16%) and they’ll have to make major lifestyle changes to save money (15%). 

Yet, no matter how concerned Americans might feel about the economy and the state of their finances, more than one-third (36%) are committed to making their finances a top priority for 2024.

Finances look different at every age

Financial behaviors and feelings vary by generation, and can portray a tale of two cities. A portion of Americans will depart 2023 having faced little adversity when it came to their finances, especially older Americans. More than one-third of Americans (35%) said they did not experience any financial setbacks in 2023, including more than half of Americans ages 65+ (53%), and 37% between the ages of 55-64, compared to just 28% of those ages of 18-54. 

On the flipside, those younger Americans who were more likely to grapple with financial setbacks this year, say cutting back won’t necessarily be a priority for them in the new year. Americans ages 18-44 were more than three times as likely as those ages 45+ to say they spent excessively in 2023 (23% vs. 7% ). Younger Americans ages (18-34) are also the least likely to say they plan to cut back on unnecessary spending (e.g. dining out, shopping, travel) in order to improve their financial standing in 2024 (31%) vs. 44% ages 35-54, 39% ages 55-64 and 47% ages 65+.

“For many Americans, 2023 was a difficult year financially, amidst a challenging economy plagued by stubborn inflation, rising borrowing costs and record-high credit card debt – just to name a few,” said Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. “While entering a new year doesn’t erase all of the financial challenges Americans are facing, it does represent a “fresh start” mentality that consumers can channel when making a plan for their money. They should focus their energy on things they can control to improve their financial situation, whether it be tackling credit card debt, cutting back on unnecessary spending or taking on a side gig to increase their income. Making the commitment to yourself to improve your finances is a great first step in setting yourself up for long-term financial success.” 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Credit Karma from November 17-21, 2023, among 2,098 adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval.  For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact