Experts vs. Everyday Americans

State of the Economy

Exclusive Survey
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Author Amanda Dixon Headshot

By Amanda Dixon

Financial reporter
U.S. Respondents
Financial Experts

Add the state of the economy to the long list of topics Americans can’t seem to agree on.

Inflation and unemployment are historically low, and the labor market overall remains strong. But Bankrate’s latest survey finds that opinions on how well the economy is doing -- and how close we are to the next recession -- vary depending on your household income and the political party you’re affiliated with. And financial experts’ opinions on the economy are at odds with what you’re hearing from everyday citizens, like your friends and next-door neighbors.

The biggest takeaway? Regardless of whether you believe the economy is chugging along or on the brink of collapse, most of us aren’t ready to face another slowdown. We looked at the status of Americans’ emergency savings and picked experts’ brains on the best ways to prepare for the worst.

Section 1

Experts and Everyday Americans Rate The Economy

Everyday Americans Have a Less Favorable View of the Economy When Compared to Experts

Republican Americans Have More Favorable View of Economy

Lower Income Households Have Less Favorable View of Economy


President Trump's policies are the main reason for the good economy: deregulation, reduced corporate taxes has incentivized corporations to increase hiring and capital expenditure.

Marilyn Cohen
CEO, Envision Capital Management Inc.

The Macroeconomic indicators are great - the unemployment rate is at a fifty year low, GDP growth has been solid, market are buoyant and inflation is low and stable. However we know there is an issue with rising inequality of both income and wealth that leaves many households still feeling vulnerable. There is a generational dimension to rising inequality — millennials came of age in a bad labor market and are still struggling to build saving and wealth and job security.

Julia Coronado
President, MacroPolicy Perspectives

Jobs and wages are the backbone of the economy, but if the economy were growing at a higher rate consistently, 3% or more, it would be more robust and better able to sustain shocks. Then it would be excellent.

Robert Frick
Corporate Economist, Navy Federal Credit Union
Section 2

Experts and Everyday Americans Predict The Next Recession

Everyday Americans Feel the Recession is Coming Sooner Than Experts Predict

Democratic Americans More Likely Feel a Recession Has Already Begun


The usual advanced indicators of a recession (such as a fully inverted yield curve for at least 2-3 months) are not present. Moreover, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators continues to show growth ahead. Tariffs could be a shock that knocks the economy off its growth path, but they are not serious enough yet to do that. Eventually inflation will rise sufficiently to cause further Fed tightening and an inverted yield curve — presaging a downturn in the economy 10-18 months later.

David W. Berson
Senior Vice President & Chief Economist, Nationwide

Rising inflation and interest rates do not appear to be on the near-term horizon. A major trade war between the U.S. and China represents our greatest economic risk as it could pummel global trade and growth along with stock markets throughout the world.

Lynn Reaser
Chief Economist for the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Current strong economic fundamentals mean economy is not at risk of recession over the next year. [The] Trump administration has a very strong incentive to ensure there is not a recession in 2020.

Gus Faucher
Chief Economist, PNC Financial Services Group
Section 3

Experts to Everyday Americans: Are you prepared?

Emergency Savings Fall Short of Expert Recommendations

Everyday Americans Aren't Comfortable with Their Emergency Savings


In the last recession, more than 6 million Americans had been out of work longer than 6 months, so aim for a six month cushion. Sole breadwinners and those in business for themselves may well need 9 or even 12 months of expenses in emergency savings.

Greg McBride, CFA
Chief Financial Analyst,

The amount of emergency savings you need is dependent upon many factors. While the standard suggested level of savings is between 3-5 months of expenses, if you work in a profession that is unstable or subjects you to variable income it may be wise to keep even more cash in reserves. Further, cash reserve requirements should also be influenced by whether or not you have disability insurance and specifically what the elimination period of the insurance is - this is usually between 90 and 180 days, depending on the type of policy. Additionally, cash reserves should also take in to account any near term events or plans that would require larger sums of cash than normal from your budget (ie. home projects, tuition payments, etc.)

Cathy Pareto
President, Cathy Pareto and Associates

More is better, but for most people it is a question of feasibility. For many their 401k plans are their primary vehicle for saving and they might max out their contributions for purposes of employer matching and/or tax deductibility. That may leave them a little tight on setting aside additional cash, but at lease a couple of months is best. More than a third of households in a recent Fed study reported not being able to manage an unexpected $400 expense. That is a sobering take on the vulnerability of many households.

Julia Coronado
President, MacroPolicy Perspectives

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About this survey

Meet the Author

Author Amanda Dixon Headshot

Amanda Dixon

Personal finance writer @amandaadixon

Amanda Dixon is a senior reporter covering banking. Prior to joining Bankrate, she served as a writer and editor for SmartAsset, a New York-based fintech startup. Originally from the metro Atlanta area, she's a University of Georgia alum. She enjoys providing an inside look into what banks and credit unions are up to and offering tips and tricks to help consumers save money and build wealth at every stage of their financial lives.

About the survey

This study was conducted for Bankrate via landline and cell phone by SSRS on its Omnibus survey platform. Interviews were conducted from May 21 – May 26, 2019 among a sample of 1,011 respondents. The margin of error for total respondents is +/- 3.55% at the 95% confidence level. SSRS Omnibus is a national, weekly, dual-frame bilingual telephone survey. All SSRS Omnibus data are weighted to represent the target population.

Meet the Experts

  • Greg McBride, CFA, is Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Analyst, for, providing analysis and advice on personal finance. With more than two decades of experience in personal finance, he is a subject matter expert that has the unique ability to provide both in-depth commentary and practical advice to consumers. Through's Money Makeover series, he has helped consumers plan for retirement, manage debt and develop appropriate investment allocations.

    McBride has appeared on hundreds of national cable and network broadcasts including NBC's "Nightly News," CBS' "Evening News" and ABC's "World News Tonight," and is a frequent guest on CNBC and Fox Business Network. McBride is routinely quoted by major print outlets such as The New York Times, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, serves as a Wall Street Journal Expert Panelist, and is a regular radio guest on financial talk shows throughout the United States. He is also an accomplished public speaker, having appeared before audiences at the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Trade Commission, American Association of Individual Investors, National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and at the China Times Golden Cicada Awards in Beijing.

    McBride currently serves on the board of Money Management International of Sugar Land, TX, the nation’s largest nonprofit credit counseling agency accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He has a distinguished record of serving on boards in the credit counseling industry, having previously chaired a finance and investment committee, and having served on executive and development committees.

    McBride also serves on the funding board of the Consumer Financial Education Fund through the Rose Foundation of Oakland, CA.

    McBride is a graduate of the University of Florida and has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

  • Cathy Pareto, MBA, CFP®, is the Founder and President of Cathy Pareto & Associates, Inc., which has been named in Forbes as one of the Top 10 Most DependableTM Wealth Managers for Women in the U.S. as well as being selected to Worth Magazine’s list of America’s Top Wealth Managers for 2008.

    For more than twenty years, Cathy has been helping affluent investors pursue their financial objectives. She has extensive experience in retirement issues, asset allocation, investment selection, investment management, education planning, estate planning coordination, and asset protection strategies. Additionally, she was an Adjunct Professor for the CFP® Program at Florida International University’s College of Business. Cathy earned her BA in Finance and later her Executive MBA at Florida International University.

  • Julia Coronado is founder of the economic research firm MacroPolicy Perspectives and is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Texas at Austin and blogs for the Rutgers Business School. Prior to starting MPP Julia was Chief Economist for Graham Capital Management and BNP Paribas, and a Senior Economist at Barclays Capital. Julia worked for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington D.C. She is a member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Business Economists, the Economic Studies Council at the Bookings Institution and is on the Board of Directors of Robert Half International. She serves on the the Advisory Boards of the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School and the Cleveland Fed’s Center for Inflation Research. Julia holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. Julia is a regular commentator in financial media, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Marketplace, and the Wall Street Journal.

  • Marilyn Cohen is one of the country’s top bond managers. She began her 40-year financial career as a securities analyst at William O’Neil & Co. She moved into bond brokerage at Cantor Fitzgerald, Inc. then founded Envision Capital Management 24 years ago. As Envision’s CEO, Marilyn and her company specializes in managing bond portfolios for individuals. During this same 24 years Marilyn has written the bond column appearing in Forbes magazine. She is the author of six books on the bond market investing for individuals—all available at

    Marilyn is a popular guest on CNBC, Fox Business News, PBS, and each of the major broadcast networks. Her comments—always explained in plain English—guide individuals through the inner workings of the bond market.

  • Robert Frick is corporate economist for Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the world. Prior to joining Navy Federal, Robert was senior editor for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

  • David W. Berson, Nationwide Chief Economist, leads a team delivering economic forecasts and analyses that are used to strengthen the company’s business strategies and operating plans. David earned a doctorate in economics and a master's degree in public policy from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's degree in history and economics from Williams College. He is a frequent speaker to media and industry groups on the economic outlook, housing, and mortgage markets, as well as the author of numerous publications.

    Prior to joining Nationwide, David served as the Chief Economist & Strategist and Head of Risk Analytics for The PMI Group, Inc., where he was responsible for analyses and forecasts of the economy, housing, and mortgage markets; domestic/global research and planning; and strategic planning. He also acted as a PMI spokesperson on global economic topics related to housing and mortgage market conditions and policies. As head of PMI’s Portfolio Management, Analytics & Pricing Group, he was responsible for all credit analytic models and projections for the company, as well as product pricing.

    Prior to PMI, David was Vice President and Chief Economist for Fannie Mae, where he advised the company on national and regional economic, housing and mortgage policy and conditions, including forecasts and analyses of the economy, interest rates, and housing and mortgage finance markets.

    David has also been Chief Financial Economist at Wharton Econometrics, visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, assistant professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate School. His government experience has included staff economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors and economic analyst at the Treasury Department and the Office of Special Trade Representative. He is a past President of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).

  • Dr. Lynn Reaser is the Chief Economist for the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University. The Institute engages in economic analysis, modeling, and forecasting for corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

    Dr. Reaser, a leading spokesperson for the University, conducts over 150 media interviews annually, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and the internet. She contributes to a numbers of financial and economic surveys, including those of CNBC, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal. She also addresses numerous domestic and international conferences and forecast events.

    She is presently a member of the PLNU School of Business Faculty, teaching managerial economics in the MBA program. Involved in public policy, she was the Chief Economist of the Council of Economic Advisors for California State Treasurer John Chiang during the past four years and is currently a member of the Economic Advisory Council for the California Chamber of Commerce.

    Dr. Reaser is active in many professional organizations including serving as past President of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), which has also named her a Fellow for her contributions to the profession. She received the NABE Outlook Award for the most accurate economic forecast in 2011-12 and served as Chair of the NABE Foundation during the last few years.

    From 1999 to 2009, she served as the Chief Economist for the Bank of America Investment Strategies Group. Dr. Reaser provided the global and U.S. economic framework for investment strategy for high net-worth, institutional, and brokerage clients, encompassing over $500 billion under management.

  • Augustine (Gus) Faucher is senior vice president and chief economist of The PNC Financial Services Group, serving as the principal spokesperson on all economic issues for PNC.

    Prior to joining PNC as senior macroeconomist in December 2011, Faucher worked for 10 years at Moody’s Analytics (formerly, where he was a director and senior economist. He was responsible for running the firm’s computer model of the U.S. economy, edited a monthly publication on the U.S. economic outlook, covered fiscal and monetary policy, and analyzed various regional economies. Previously, he worked for six years at the U.S. Treasury Department, and taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was named senior vice president in March 2015, deputy chief economist in February 2016, and to his current role in April 2017.

    Faucher is frequently cited in international, national, and regional media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and Nightly Business Report, and is regularly featured on CNBC, CNN and Fox Business. In addition, he appears regularly on CBS Radio, NPR and Marketplace.

    He serves on the board of directors of The Economic Club of Pittsburgh - the local chapter of National Association of Business Economics (NABE). He is also co-chair of the Financial Roundtable of NABE.

    Faucher earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, with concentrations in labor economics and public economics. He also has a B. A. in economics from Cornell University.

  • Joel L. Naroff is the President and founder of Naroff Economic Advisors, a strategic economic consulting firm. He advises companies across the country on the risks and opportunities that economic developments may have on the organization’s operating environment. Joel is the author, with veteran reporter Ron Scherer, of “Big Picture Economics: How to Navigate the New Global Economy”. The book has been recently reprinted in Chinese. He is an economic advisor to Emerald Advisors, TDn2k, Investors Bank, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors and Indigo Capital Advisors. He is a Senior Advisor to Econsult Solutions. From 1999 to 2009, Joel served on a consulting basis as Chief Economist for Commerce Bank/TD Bank. Before that he was Chief Bank Economist at First Union Bank and First Fidelity Bancorp. Prior to moving into banking, Joel was a tenured professor in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    A nationally recognized economic forecasting expert, Joel has received numerous honors. For five of the last six years, he was a Crystal Ball Award winner of the Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. He received the National Association for Business Economics Outlook Award as the top economic forecaster in both 2007 and 2011. NABE is the premier professional association for business economists. In 2008 he was awarded the Lawrence Klein Award for Blue Chip forecasting excellence. This is one of the oldest and most prestigious forecasting honors. Joel was the Bloomberg Business News top economic forecaster in 2008 and in 2006 he was MSNBC’s the top forecaster. He is a member of the Blue Chip, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Survey of Professional Forecasters, Reuters, Newsweek and MarketWatch economic forecasting panels. He is an economic and financial advisor to state and local governments as well as business organizations. He has testified in front of Congress on economic and fiscal policy matters.

    Joel is often quoted in the national press, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, Barron’s and Business Week. He has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg Television and Yahoo Finance. Joel writes a bimonthly Sunday business column and a periodic blog called “Random Economics” for the Philadelphia Inquirer, does business commentary for KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia and can be heard often on the national news radio networks. His materials are quoted by news agencies around the world.

    An accomplished public speaker, Joel’s humor and unique ability to make economics understandable have brought him a wide following. His presentations on national, international, regional and industry topics show how evolving economic trends can impact businesses, governments, educational institutions and not for profits.

    Joel received bachelors’ degrees in economics and chemistry from the Stony Brook University and his Ph.D. in economics from Brown University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and teaches at the Stonier School of Banking.

Experts vs. Everyday Americans: State of the Economy

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