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New Research Reveals Over Two-Thirds of Adults Have Experienced Financial Trauma

Experian survey highlights financial stress among U.S. adults and supports need for increased financial education and planning

A staggering 68% of U.S. adults feel they have suffered from, or are currently suffering from, financial trauma according to new research released today by Experian®. The research sheds light on the prevalence of negative feelings and angst related to financial matters, with approximately 65% of adults admitting to experiencing negative thoughts, flashbacks and anxiety when dealing with financial issues.

Financial stress among younger generations

Younger generations, namely Gen Z adults and millennials, stand out regarding their reported levels of stress and financial anxiety, with 73% of Gen Zers and 77% of millennials experiencing negative thoughts, flashbacks and/or anxiety about money.

Contributing factors

The survey revealed a lack of discussion about money growing up and limited access to trustworthy information about finances as possible contributing factors to financial stress:

  • More than half (51%) stated their family rarely or never spoke about finances.
  • This lack of discussion left 43% of those who rarely or never spoke about finances growing up feeling like they never learned about financial planning and 42% stating they never learned to use credit or build their credit scores.
  • A concerning 37% of adults are unaware of where to access trustworthy information about financial literacy.

“Small steps can make a big difference in helping consumers feel less financially stressed and live more financially empowered lives,” said Christina Roman, Consumer Education and Advocacy Manager at Experian. “Our goal is to normalize conversations about money and financial stress and connect consumers with the financial education and resources necessary to help bring financial power to all.”

Education and planning key to reducing financial stress

Experian’s research underscores adults’ eagerness to improve their financial well-being. More than half (55%) expressed that access to more financial education would help alleviate their financial stressors, and 45% believe establishing a more concrete financial plan for their future would reduce their financial anxieties.

These sentiments were particularly strong for America’s youngest consumers, with 74% of Gen Zers and 75% of millennials stating that more financial education would reduce financial stress.

Free credit education resources and tools

Experian is committed to partnering with organizations dedicated to helping consumers navigate and overcome financial challenges, including the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

“We recognize many consumers are feeling the effects of financial trauma and stress,” said Bruce McClary, Senior Vice President, NFCC. “Whether a consumer is struggling with debt or recovering from a financial setback, financial knowledge can help consumers confidently manage their current situation and prepare for their future. We can help consumers make informed decisions about the solutions that may be best for their unique situation.”

Consumers can receive one-on-one support from one of over 1,200 certified financial counselors at 250 locations across the U.S. to establish debt relief plans through the NFCC by visiting

Those looking to reduce their financial stress and improve their financial well-being are also encouraged to take advantage of Experian’s free tools and resources, including:

  • Signing up for credit monitoring and receiving a free copy of your Experian credit report and FICO Score®1 monthly at or via Experian’s mobile app. Experian’s mobile app also offers access to personal finance and credit building tools such as:

Experian Boost®: Consumers can add positive telecom, utility, video streaming service and qualifying rent payments to their Experian credit file for an opportunity to improve their credit scores by visiting

Experian Go™: Consumers without an established credit history can download Experian’s mobile app and enroll in a free Experian membership to establish, use and build credit responsibly with Experian Go.

Experian Smart Money™: Earlier this month, Experian released the Experian Smart Money™ Digital Checking Account and Debit Card3, which embeds Experian Boost. Now it is even more convenient for consumers to use Experian’s feature and improve their credit profile, while also benefiting from an industry-leading suite of financial tools all in one place.

‒ Experian’s official credit advice blog, Ask Experian, has answers to common questions, advice and education about credit. Consumers can find additional credit education resources at

Get your personal finance and credit questions answered

For additional support, watch this video to learn more about credit and personal finance. Education experts from Experian and NFCC recap these survey findings, address common consumer questions, and share tips to improve your financial health and overcome financial stress.

For more information on Experian’s financial trauma research, visit:


1 Credit score is calculated based on FICO Score 8 model, unless otherwise noted. In addition to the FICO® Score 8, we may offer and provide other base or industry-specific FICO® Scores (such as FICO® Auto Scores and FICO® Bankcard Scores). Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8 or such other base or industry-specific FICO® Score (if available), or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more.

2 Results will vary. Not all payments are boost-eligible. Some users may not receive an improved score or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost. Learn more.

3 The Experian Smart Money Debit Card™ is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB), pursuant to a license from Mastercard International. Banking services provided by CFSB, Member FDIC. Experian is a Program Manager, not a bank.

About Experian

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 22,000 people operating across 32 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity. With corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, we are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.


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