If you fret over bills and your finances in general, you’ve got company. A new study shows that Americans are increasingly saddled with money concerns.
The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) annual poll of 1,000 adults found that the nation’s anxiety score came in at 51 on a scale of zero to 100. That’s a five-point increase from the previous year.
Study: 67% of Americans have anxiety over paying bills
“By generation, millennials continued to be more anxious than Gen Xers or baby boomers, but baby boomer’s anxiety increased the most with a seven-point jump between 2017 and 2018,” the APA said in a press release.
The numbers show that many people are dealing with stress in various areas of their lives. No where is this more evident than when it comes to money: 67% of people said that they were extremely and somewhat anxious about paying their bills or expenses.
“While more Americans are anxious than last year in all five areas (health, safety, finances, relationships and politics), the greatest increase was in anxiety about paying bills,” the group said. “Nearly three-quarters of women, nearly three-quarters of young adults (18–34) and nearly four in five Hispanic adults are somewhat or extremely anxious about paying their bills.”
Clark’s advice on how to deal with money-related stress
Money expert Clark Howard says you don’t have to be anxious when it comes to money matters. He’s a big proponent of people taking their financial lives into their own hands. He’s shared numerous ways to save over the years.
“We have a mentality in our country that you just borrow for what you want,” Clark says in a May 2015 podcast from The Clark Howard Show. “The problem with it is the anxiety that it causes, the insecurity that results.”
“And because we now live in a society where jobs come and go and even successful companies will report record profits then the next week lay off thousands, you never know how secure your job is. And so to live a life where you owe money, then you never know where your paycheck’s going to come from, that’s too upsetting, that’s putting too much uncertainty in your life.”
The remedy? “Take action to reduce and eliminate your debt. Freeze those credit cards and dig out,” he says.
During his March 12 podcast, Clark speaks to wallet worriers directly and gives a sage saving tip: “Why create anxiety in your life? I’d like for you to start saving money. Start saving in small increments, increase by 1% every six months. The two yearly time changes [when Daylight Savings Time starts and ends] could serve as time markers to step up savings just 1%.”
Get help attacking your credit card debt
Credit card debt is hovering near an all-time high in the United States. “If you’re using credit cards to buy things you can’t pay for, that’s where big change has to come,” Clark says. “This begins the process of having less stress and more control in your life.”
If you feel you’re out there alone trying to get out of debt, be assured that nothing could be further from the truth. Join Clark’s Ditch Your Debt Facebook group and find more than 3,000 allies that will support you on your journey to be debt-free.