May 23, 2023
Updates monthly

Tracking Consumers’ Financial Well-Being

Financial well-being stays low, with high-income consumers experiencing a drop

Each month Morning Consult polls at least 2,200 U.S. adults about how they view their personal financial situations and how this perception impacts their ability to feel secure and enjoy freedom of choice. This data is incorporated into Morning Consult’s Financial Well-Being Scale, modeled after a scale by the same name from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can learn more about Morning Consult’s scale in our methodology below.

How to read this data: The Financial Well-Being scores reflect the extent to which a person’s financial situation provides them with security and freedom of choice. Consumers’ Financial Well-Being scores can change over time, and while some score shifts may appear small, even the slightest change can be meaningful. For example, according to the CFPB, an individual’s 1-point month-over-month increase is associated with a $15,000 increase in household income, a five-year age increase or a 20-point credit score hike.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. adults’ financial well-being scores were stable this month, but still on the lower end of the trend. Though inflation is lower than it was last April, consumers are still feeling squeezed, and the average financial well-being score among all U.S. adults is holding steady at 49.68, compared with 50.27 in April 2022.

  • Among income groups, low-income adults are faring slightly better, and high-income adults slightly worse, than last month. The financial well-being score of those in households earning less than $50,000 per year improved by 1.55 points to 46.73; the score of adults in households making at least $100,000 annually dropped 3.2 points to 54.52.

  • Gender gaps in financial well-being continue: Women’s financial well-being score in April was nearly 2 points lower than men’s (48.89 and 50.71, respectively). The difference in how far money stretches each month is particularly illustrative: 45% of women said they “rarely” or “never” have money left at the end of each month, compared with 28% of men who said the same.

Financial Well-Being Scale Buoyed by Boomers

'My finances control my life'

Shares who said the above phrase describes them “always” or “often”

‘Giving a gift for a wedding, birthday or other occasion would put a strain on my finances for the month’

Shares who said the above phrase describes them “always” or “often”

‘Because of my money situation, I feel like I will never have the things I want in life’

Shares who said the above phrase describes them “completely” or “very well”

‘I could handle a major unexpected expense’

Shares who said the above phrase describes them “completely” or “very well”

‘I am securing my financial future’

Shares who said the above phrase describes them “completely” or “very well”

Source of This Data


Morning Consult surveys at least 2,200 U.S. adults every month on their financial health, well-being, habits and attitudes. To determine overall financial well-being, Morning Consult replicated the CFPB’s Financial Well-Being Scale and scoring methodology.

The CFPB created its Financial Well-Being Scale in 2015 for the purpose of allowing “practitioners and researchers to accurately and consistently quantify, and therefore observe, something that the respondent already has a sense of — the extent to which their financial situation and the financial capability that they have developed provide them with security and freedom of choice.” The scale includes 10 questions for gauging present and future security and freedom of choice, touching on consumers’ control over their finances, their capacity to absorb financial shocks and their trajectory to meet their financial goals.

The 10 questions were selected by the CFPB through cognitive testing, factor analysis and psychometric testing of large populations. The score used for the Financial Well-Being Scale is based on Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis, a statistical method that provides a more precise measure than a summary score.

The IRT-based scoring method allows researchers to give precise and consistent estimates for the aspects of financial well-being that have traditionally been hard to quantify, including feelings of empowerment, confidence and satisfaction. Scores can be calculated via a two-step process. First, the respondent’s self-assessment is converted to a zero-to-four scale; second, a lookup table is used to convert each total response value to the Financial Well-Being Scale based on the respondent’s age group.

About Morning Consult

Morning Consult is a global decision intelligence company changing how modern leaders make smarter, faster, better decisions. The company pairs its proprietary high-frequency data with applied artificial intelligence to better inform decisions on what people think and how they will act. Learn more at morningconsult.com.

The author would like to thank Charlotte Principato for her contributions to this research.

Caroline Smith
Manager, Financial Services

Caroline Smith is a manager of financial services intelligence at Morning Consult, where she analyzes high-frequency data to help the company deliver real-time insights to the financial services sector.