Hope for your financial life and beyond

Americans Share Their Biggest Financial Worries

When it comes to your money, what are your biggest financial worries?

Paying the bills?


That massive chain of student loan debt wrapped around your neck?

There is no shortage of issues to worry about. At each stage of life we face something that puts us on edge. This anxiety about the present and the future drives our choices for good or for bad as we attempt to solve the problems that keep us up at night.

Over the years I’ve learned how to let go of the worry that can so easily bind me up. There is a fine line between worrying about the future and planning for it. Planning for it is prudent and wise. Worrying about it robs us of living in the present and maximizing all that today has to offer.

Whether you are a worrier or not the fact remains we all face financial challenges. Even the wealthy have problems they must deal with. What’s dominating your thoughts? See how you fit in with the rest of Americans in the infographic below.

Americans Deepest Financial Worries

What Stands Out to You?

The infographic has a good deal of information to digest. For me, some of the most telling percentages are those at the very beginning.

56% of Americans have a positive view of their finances. Yet, 57% say they are unprepared for an emergency, which is supported when we see that 83% of respondents list “lack of savings” as their biggest worry.

Those conflicting numbers could mean several things. Without a doubt we can surely say some in the 56% are delusional about the state of their finances. I don’t see how you can say, “My financial life is positive” if you don’t have the most basic of all financial steps completed yet (having an emergency fund). That’s a real disconnect to me.

What stands out to you? What can you most relate to?

Questions: What are your biggest financial worries? Do you have adequate savings for an emergency? If we were to break this down into generations, what do you think each one – Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Older – worries about the most?

 Infographic Source: Masters-in-Accounting.org

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  1. The 1 in 3 Americans having no savings and the 6 in 10 Americans breaking even or spending more than they make is what stood out to me.

    I think for me personally what I worry about the most is not having enough for retirement. I’m automatically putting away a certain amount every month, but now that I have taken on a new job which came with a pay cut, I may have to put away a bit less.

    • Yes, 60% of Americans who are behind or can’t get ahead is a big concern. I think that reflects many issues in society (out of control spending, cost of living, lost jobs and low paying jobs, the poor economy, increased expenses due to healthcare “reform”).

  2. On the one hand, this make me feel good that I’m ahead of the game and learning this stuff now (in my twenties). On the other hand, it makes me feel bad to see how many Americans are living this way when they don’t have it. That’s why I’m so passionate about personal finance for young women.

  3. I’ve gotta just be honest and admit; when I read these types of statistics (which is often) it really bums me out. I am so sad for Americans who are struggling. Particularly for those in the older generation who expected the miracle of social security to come through for them. I think millennials are waking up to the fact that savings need to be a priority. That would explain their feelings of insecurity; they understand that they don’t want to be 80 and still working.

  4. I think a big worry of mine is not having enough savings, for emergencies or for retirement. But that is also my own fault because I’m trying to knock down debt in order to have the spare money to save. We currently have around $1500 saved for emergencies and $40,000 for retirement. I guess I fall into the Millenial category, since I am 28. I think entering the workforce right before the recession helped me. I have always been a bit of a cheapskate, but it was necessary as my husband and I started out due to the recession.

    • That’s really not bad Becky for your age. I’d say you are generally ahead of where many Millennials are especially with the retirement investments. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it at this point. Sounds like your main focus is on debt…where it should be. Once that’s gone the savings and retirement are next in line to increase.

  5. Not being prepared enough for a financial emergency is at the top of my list. Somehow we always seem to get by, though.

  6. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    I am really worried about retirement. Now, I have a family to support. It’s like the chances of saving for retirement is less and it is really challenging to look for ways to save for that purpose.

  7. I am always surprised and troubled by the disconnect so many people have with their finances. They view their financial lives positively but don’t have money to handle an emergency, etc. So many people lack basic financial knowledge that they don’t know how to truly assess their situation. Or understand their gaps or risks. I also find that many people don’t have realistic expectations when it comes to retirement or understand how Medicare/Medicaid work either.

    • “…view their financial lives positively but don’t have money to handle an emergency…” I agree…but I also see this as typical human behavior. We tend to overestimate situations as being more positive than they generally are. We turn a blind eye to things we don’t want to look at/address.

  8. 1 in 5 don’t think they will ever be able to retire? Ouch! That has to be a deflating/hopeless feeling waking up every morning.

    • I know…not much to look forward to or be happy about if that’s how you are feeling. I think you’d be depressed going to work everyday thinking/knowing your labor was not leading you into a prosperous future.

  9. Those are huge percentages worried about some basic things (savings, expenses, retirement). That seems to jive with the finding that each generation finds themselves les financially responsible… Seems like we are headed for a personal financial disaster!

  10. This is a great infographic! I would say that I am most worried about not having enough saved for retirement. I suppose that many of my fellow millennials would be most concerned about student loan payments.

    • The student loan situation is getting out of hand. Students need more sense than to take out tens of thousands of dollars in loans it will take them decades to pay back. I fault parents mostly for this for not teaching the proper financial concepts to their kids and for not encouraging their kids into other, cheaper alternatives. There are so many ways to get a decent college education these days without mortgaging your future, literally.

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