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Study Links Financial Discipline to Greater Happiness and Better Sleep

Northwestern Mutual's 2022 Planning & Progress Study finds more than half (54%) of U.S. adults are anxious about their finances; for Gen Z and Millennials it's two-thirds (66%)

The latest set of findings from the Northwestern Mutual 2022 Planning & Progress Study finds that people who work with a financial advisor and those who self-identify as disciplined financial planners not only report lower levels of financial anxiety in their lives, but higher levels of happiness and better sleep, too.

The research, conducted with Harris Poll and based on a sample of nearly 2,500 people, finds the majority (54%) of U.S. adults aged 18 and over report feeling somewhat or very anxious about their finances. That number drops to 46% for people who work with a financial advisor and 47% for those who self-identify as disciplined planners. It goes in the other direction for younger adults, with two-thirds (66%) of both Millennials and Gen Z saying they feel somewhat or very anxious about their finances.

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The study uncovered an interesting relationship between financial planning and overall wellness, with people who have an advisor or identify as disciplined planners reporting being happier and sleeping better.

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"It's interesting to look beyond the traditional financial wellness categories and explore topics such as how happy people feel, and how well they're sleeping at night," said Christian Mitchell, executive vice president & chief customer officer at Northwestern Mutual. "What emerges is a pretty distinct link between financial wellness and overall wellness."

A generational breakdown across wellness categories reveals that Gen X are the worst sleepers, and Millennials and Gen Z are tied for the most anxious.

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The study also found a strong generational difference exists when it comes to how people view the impact of their daily financial decisions. The youngest group of U.S. adults believe that small daily purchases – even a cup of coffee – will have an impact on their long-term financial security.

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"There's not a universally correct answer here, but it's noteworthy particularly for advisors that there's been a shift in point-of-view from one generation to the next," says Mitchell. "Regardless of age, the goal is to have clarity on what you will need in order to enjoy the things that make you happy in life – from the simple pleasures such as a daily cup of coffee to the larger milestones like a comfortable retirement, and everything in between. "In forthcoming data sets, the 2022 Planning & Progress Study will explore wide-ranging issues facing Americans spanning savings and debt, work and retirement, planning, priorities and more.

About The 2022 Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study

The 2022 Planning & Progress Study was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual and included 2,381 American adults aged 18 or older who participated in an online survey between February 8 – 17, 2022. Results were weighted to Census targets for education, age, gender, race / ethnicity, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

About Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has been helping people and businesses achieve financial security for more than 165 years. Through a holistic planning approach, Northwestern Mutual combines the expertise of its financial professionals with a personalized digital experience and industry-leading products to help its clients plan for what's most important. With more than $561 billion in combined company and client assets, $34 billion in revenues, and $2.1 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to nearly five million people with life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services. Northwestern Mutual ranked 97 on the 2022 FORTUNE 500 and was recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2022. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (investment brokerage services), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (NMWMC) (investment advisory and services), federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company (NLTC) (long-term care insurance). Not all Northwestern Mutual representatives are advisors. Only those representatives with "Advisor" in their title or who otherwise disclose their status as an advisor of NMWMC are credentialed as NMWMC representatives to provide investment advisory services.

Annuity Alliance is not associated with any of these companies, but Annuity Alliance is sharing this information as educational only for our website visitors. This information should not be used to make a purchasing decision.