Market Risks and World Tensions Are Making Americans Pessimistic About the Economy

Allianz Life study finds more people are worried about a big market crash or major recession than any time in the last year

Key findings:

  • 47% say they think the economy will improve in 2022 – down from 54% in Q4 2021 and 66% in Q4 2020
  • 79% worry that current world tensions will cause a recession
  • 43% say they are too nervous to invest in the market right now – up significantly from 34% in Q4 2021

MINNEAPOLIS – April 27, 2022 – As world tensions increase and the stock market continues to be volatile, Americans say they are increasingly pessimistic about the economy and stock market performance. In fact, less than half (47%) say they think the economy will improve in the next year, according to the 2022 Q1 Quarterly Market Perceptions Study* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life). This is down from more optimistic times – 54% in Q4 2021 and 66% in Q4 of 2020.

The majority of respondents (60%) also said they were worried that a major recession is right around the corner. Digging deeper, 79% are worried that current world tensions will spark another recession. Meanwhile, 56% worry about another big market crash. This is markedly higher than last quarter (50% in Q4 2021) or any time in the last year. The vast majority of respondents (81%) say that they expect volatility to continue in the market this year. 

As a result, Americans may be becoming more risk averse. Currently, more than four in 10 (43%) say they are too nervous to invest in the market right now – the highest level of worry since 2019.

“People don’t like uncertainty when it comes to finances and that is exactly what we have experienced in the markets thus far in 2022,” said Kelly LaVigne, VP of Consumer Insights, Allianz Life. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing that the vast majority of Americans expect volatility to stick around this year and it is adding yet another layer of risk to manage within their financial portfolios.”

Impact on Retirement

Anxiety about the risks of volatility on retirement savings is higher than it has been in a year. In the latest survey, 40% of respondents said volatility in the market is making them anxious about their nest egg, up from 37% in Q4 2021. Fewer people feel good about the market and are ready to invest now. Just 24% of respondents said they are comfortable with current market conditions and ready to invest now, down from 29% last quarter.

Given some of the recent swings, the study also found that Americans are looking to protect some of their retirement savings from market risks:

  • 65% said given recent market volatility, they wish they had more of their retirement savings protected from market loss
  • 59% said they are looking to add more protection to their portfolio after the recent market correction
  • 66% said they wish they could have locked in their gains during recent market highs

*Allianz Life conducted an online survey, the 2022 Q1 Quarterly Market Perceptions Study in March 2022 with a nationally representative sample of 1,002 Respondents age 18+.

About Allianz Company Profile

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of the Ethisphere World’s Most Ethical Companies®, has been trusted since 1896 to help millions of Americans prepare for financial uncertainties and retirement with a variety of innovative risk management solutions. In 2023, Allianz Life provided additional value to its policyholders via distributions of more than $13.73 billion. Allianz Life is a leading provider of fixed index annuities, registered index-linked annuities, and fixed index universal life insurance. Additionally, Allianz Investment Management LLC (AllianzIM), a registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of Allianz Life, offers a suite of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Allianz Life and AllianzIM are part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with approximately 157,000 employees in more than 70 countries. Allianz Life is a proud sponsor of Allianz Field® in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United.