WalletHub Highlights “Scary” Financial Survey Results

If you were awakened by a few bumps in the night, it may have been the sound of the Federal Reserve dropping interest rates again — or it could just be that today is Halloween. Although the holiday is often associated with such terrifying sights as zombies, ghouls, and goblins, such fictional beings are no match for the real-life horrors that often haunt us. Chief among those fears for many? Money. That’s what a new survey from the site WalletHub found when it asked 800 U.S. adults about their personal finances and what aspects of money they found frightening.

First, extrapolating WalletHub’s survey findings, 78 million Americans would describe their finances as a “horror show.” That’s actually up from last year’s 75 million. Furthermore 37% of those surveyed admitted to having nightmares related to their money problems. Plus, as we’ve seen before, money can be more stressful than politics, with 30% of respondents ranking finances as their top source of stress compared to 24% for politics. For what it’s worth, “health” was the third most popular answer with 18%.

Speaking of health, looking at what types of expenses Americans fear the most, the top answer was “medical bills.” In fact 44% of respondents rated that as their largest fear, topping mortgage/rent bills at 29%. Somewhat surprisingly credit card bills haunted only one-fifth of those surveyed. Finally car loans rounded out the top responses with 7%.

When asked what their biggest financial fear overall was, respondents were fairly split between more immediate and long term money needs. While 25% said they most worried about unplanned emergencies, 24% said they were concerned about not having enough money in retirement. Other top answers included job loss (18%), fraud (15%), loss of health coverage (10%), and poor credit (8%).

Of course it’s wasn’t just their own personal finances that concerned respondents. According to WalletHub 70% of people said they were either “somewhat” or “very” fearful of an upcoming recession. Similarly two-thirds expect economic conditions will grow scarier within the next 12 months.

There may be plenty of reasons that people are scared of personal finance. However it’s important to remember that personal finance doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Sometimes making small changes such as building an emergency fund can go a long way toward making finance far less frightening. Additionally, when used correctly, even credit cards can be more “treat” than “trick.” In any case, have a Happy Halloween!


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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