Most Americans Still Stressed Over Money

    If money is causing stress and anxiety in your house, take it easy. You’ve got company.

    The same thing is happening in the house next door. And the one across the street. And just about every other home in your neighborhood.

    The American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2014 survey on “Stress In America” says that 72 percent of American adults are stressed about money at least some of the time and 26 percent are stressed about it most of, or all the time.

    “Not a surprise,” Dr. Sally Winston, co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland, said. “Money is one of the greatest stressers for people at all levels economically. We always hear ‘Don’t worry about money,’ but people do.”

    Most of the takeaways from the 2014 APA survey paint a concerned picture of America’s relationship with money. That is not surprising given the anxiety created by the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009. Memories of unemployment, home foreclosures and massive credit card debt are still fresh as people work to regain their financial balance.

    Most People Just Making It

    Some of the survey highlights include:

    • 54 percent of adults say they have “just enough” or not enough money to make ends meet at the end of the month.
    • 31 percent of spouses and partners say that money is a major source of conflict or tension in their relationship.
    • 53 percent say they try to save money by shop during sales or use coupons, while 52 percent save by cooking more at home.
    • Nearly one-third (32 percent) say that their finances or lack of money prevent them from living a healthy lifestyle and 20 percent say that they have either considered skipping (9 percent) or skipped (12 percent) a visit to the doctor in the last year because of concerns over medical debt.

    The one good bit of news from the survey is that the overall stress factor in the U.S. has been on a slow decline since 2007. Participants were asked to rate their stress on a scale of 1 (little or no stress) to 10 (a great deal of stress) and the average score dropped from a high of 6.2 in 2007 to 4.9 in 2014.

    Parents, Young Adults, Women Struggle

    Unfortunately, not all segments of the population have benefitted equally from the improving economy. Parents, women and young adults show significantly higher levels of financial stress than the rest of the population.

    Parents dealing with rent, utilities, car payments and student loans, have the highest marks on the 1-to-10 scale with a score of 5.7. Young adults of the Millennial and Gex-X generations are next at 5.5 and 5.4. Women rank their stress levels at 5.0, compared to 4.3 for men.

    “I think these groups reflect the stress that comes with not being able to provide for your family at whatever ideal you set for yourself,” Dr. Winston said. “Whether you’re not keeping up with your peers or facing real poverty, it’s enormously stressful.”

    Neither the survey, nor Dr. Winston, offered solutions for reducing the tension over finances in the home, but there are some easy-to-follow steps that could help.

    • Make good choices: Anyone with an income, has financial choices to make every month. It’s hard to put money into retirement plan or an emergency savings fund when you have three credit cards that are maxed out, but it was your choice to use credit. If you look at the credit card bill and see charges from restaurants, entertainment, clothing and vacations, you can question whether those were appropriate choices.
    • Consolidate debts: Keeping up with payments due on rent, auto, credit cards and utilities can be overwhelming. Settle down. Consolidate those bills into one payment, due at the same time every month. Reduce anxiety and focus on making the one payment.
    • Ask for help: There are credit counselors and financial advisors that can help you prioritize your debts and show you ways to eliminate debt. Talk with them. The “Stress In America” survey showed that people who had emotional support did considerably better dealing with stress and finding a positive outcome to their financial problems.
    • Think positive: Yes, it’s a cliché, but positive thinking and body language can help reduce stress in the same way constant moaning over what’s wrong with your finances can create stress. Stay focused on the present and goals you can reasonably achieve. Keep a chart that shows successful steps you’ve made toward eliminating debt.

    “Don’t mistake worrying for problem solving,” Dr. Winston said. “A lot of worry isn’t going to solve your problem. The happiest people in the world are the ones who have a modicum of money to support their needs and don’t worry about how much more they could have.

    “Consider living life according to your set of values, not according to your monetary value.”

    Winston, who also is the co-author of the book “What Every Therapist Needs To Know About Anxiety Disorders,” is a professional member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The ADAA is sponsoring Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week May 3-9.


    Bill Fay
    Staff Writer

    Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at

    In debt? We can help!

    • Amount
    • Type
    • Contact

    How much do you owe?

    What can we help you with today?

    Related Articles

    Chalkboard with graph of rising credit card rates

    Why Credit Card APR’s Are Rising, Despite Fed’s Third Rate Cut of 2019

    Typically, a decrease in the federal funds rate means your credit card APR should fall as well, but that’s not what is happening lately in the U.S. economy.Banks have backed themselves into a corner with an influx of cash-back and travel rewards credit ...

    Continue Reading
    People sitting at computers and tablets looking up personal loans to submit an application

    Personal Loans on the Rise

    The loan business is getting personal.We’re talking personal loans, and they are exactly what they sound like. You borrow money from a lending institution and pay it back.The big difference from mortgages or car loans is that you don’t need ...

    Continue Reading
    Bag of Payday Loan Money Exchanging Hands

    Payday Loan Alternative a Good (Or Risky) Thing?

    If you’re one of the millions of Americans for whom payday can’t come soon enough, technology is catching up with your dreams.Uber, McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse are among a growing number of employers that are offering workers an on-demand ...

    Continue Reading
    American families are having trouble with understanding finance

    Financial Literacy a Tough Test for Most Americans

    The latest trends in spending and debt indicate that America already has forgotten any lessons we might have learned when the bubble burst on the U.S. economy in 2008.The reputable and renowned Pew Charitable Trust says that 80% of American adults are in ...

    Continue Reading
    Prepaid Reloadable Card Card

    GPR Cards An Alternative To Banks, Credit Cards

    If you like the convenience of a credit card, but lack discipline and overspend when using one, a general purpose reloadable (GPR) card could be the way to stabilize your finances.GPR cards, more commonly referred to as pre-paid credit cards, are safer ...

    Continue Reading
    Tips for banking and their new rules

    How Credit Unions And Banks Are “Gamifying” Savings

    Nobody wants to play games with their investment dollars, but what if the game was rigged so you couldn’t lose?Credit unions in five states have come up with a savings account – remember them? – that includes a chance to win monthly, quarterly and ...

    Continue Reading
    Man Filing Papers For Bankruptcy

    3 Reasons To File For Bankruptcy

    There aren’t many words in the English language less understood and more avoided than bankruptcy.“There definitely is a stigma attached to it,” Jeff Badgley said. “When people hear it, they get really uncomfortable.”Badgley sees the ...

    Continue Reading
    Save money while helping the planet

    Save Some Money While Saving The Planet

    Most people know their financial footprint in the world, but probably couldn’t tell you their carbon footprint on the planet.Earth Day celebrations, which happen every year on April 22, remind us that we are responsible for keeping the planet clean, ...

    Continue Reading
    Get Help Now

    Overwhelmed with debt? You have options for lower monthly payments!