Top 5 Financial Worries Americans Have in 2017

When it comes to the financial health of the average American, there is a lot to be concerned about. For example one recent poll found that 48% of people would struggle to cover an unexpected $100 expense. Meanwhile the definition of “middle class” is quickly changing as more workers report struggling to make ends meet. If that’s the case, what financial needs are Americans most worried about not having?

A new report by Gallup and covered by MarketingCharts sought to find out exactly what financial concerns U.S. adults found to be the most pressing or worrisome. Here’s what the top responses were:

Paying for medical costs

With the political battle over health care and health insurance reaching a fever pitch following the election of President Donald Trump, it’s no wonder that medical costs ranked as the biggest financial concern people have. In fact two health-related questions made the top three, with 54% of respondents saying they were “very worried” or “moderately worried” about covering bills resulting from a major illness or accident. Additionally 41% expressed concerns about paying for regular health needs. 

Saving for retirement

Not far behind health care on the list of financial concerns is the concept of retirement. More specifically, not being able to exit the workforce with enough funds to truly enjoy your golden years. At 54% the total number of people with worries about retirement actually ties for first place, although slightly fewer Americans (26%) said they were “very worried” about their later years.

Maintaining preferable standard of living

Interestingly, the third-ranked concern is less quantifiable than others on the list. Still it’s not exactly surprising that many citizens are concerned about their standard of living and want to be able to afford a lifestyle they’re happy with. That’s likely why 40% of those surveyed said maintaining their standard of living was worrisome for them.

Paying for college

Perhaps second only to health insurance in terms of politicized financial topics is the cost of college. From the student debt crisis that many educated Americans are now a part of to the new class of students facing rising tuition costs, several parents have taken to saving for their child’s college education at the time their born — sometimes even prioritizing those savings over their own retirement. As a result 18% of respondents said they were “very worried” about paying for their kids to go to college with another 17% saying they were “somewhat worried.”

Covering normal monthly bills

Rounding out the top five is another basic: paying your bills. Somewhat surprisingly this even topped inability to pay for housing in this latest survey. However when you consider the steep consequences that come with not having enough each month — be it a black mark on your credit for paying late or resorting to expensive payday loans to make up the difference —  it’s no wonder that 31% were worried about such a scenario.


Admittedly, in the world of personal finance, there’s a lot for individuals and families to be concerned about — but there is some good news. As MarketingCharts notes, this year’s survey found that, on average, less Americans were worried about these financial needs. Furthermore, some areas of concern such as maintaining a standard of living and paying for housing saw their lowest levels of anxiety in a decade. So while few among us can truly say they never have to worry about money, there may still be hope for the rest of us.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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