Americans are increasingly anxious about money.
New data from Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study found that money is the No. 1 cause of stress among Americans, according to 44 percent of survey respondents. Money is more of a problem than either personal relationships (25 percent) or work (18 percent).
Over the past year, financial anxiety has increased. In 2017, 37 percent of Americans said they felt a high or moderate level of anxiety when thinking about saving for retirement and 40 percent felt anxious about outliving their retirement savings, according to data from Northwestern Mutual. As of 2018, 41 percent are stressed about retirement planning and 46 percent worry about outliving their savings.
That makes sense given that so many Americans are behind on prepping for retirement. Over 20 percent have nothing at all saved for the future, and another 10 percent have less than $5,000 socked away, Northwestern Mutual found. The cost of health care continues to rise faster than incomes as well: Annual costs came out to more than $10,000 per person in 2016.
Money issues put so much pressure on people is because they’re multi-faceted, Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning at Northwestern Mutual, tells CNBC Make It. “Let’s say that somebody’s doing a great job saving for retirement,” she says. “That doesn’t necessarily help them if they lose their income.”
“There are also pieces of it that even people doing a great job can’t necessarily control,” Barsch adds. “Think about the high inflation rate of health care over the last 10 years. A lot of people planning for retirement are trying to figure out how much is enough to be sure that they can afford health care."