AAII Survey: Causes of Financial Stress


According to the 2015 American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual Stress in America report, nearly 90% of Americans said that their financial stress level “has either remained the same or gotten worse” with time.

recent GOBankingRates survey found that many Americans tap into their emergency savings to cover home costs, medical emergencies and even cost-of-living increases.

AAII Weekly Survey Question

Survey results such as these show that financial worries exist for many individuals. However, what exactly is causing this stress? To find out, last week’s survey question asked:

What is the leading cause of financial stress in your life?

Here are the results:

In all, 1,900 votes were cast.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that 40% of our readers do not deal with any financial stress.

In a tie, another 16% of readers who face some type of financial stress say it stems from health expenses as well as retirement.

In third place among those who experience some type of financial stress is “other.”

Weekly Special Question

So the results of last week’s survey show that the majority of our readers experience financial stress. Given that statistic, I wanted to know how our readers go about alleviating that stress. So our follow-up special question asked:

What steps do you take to reduce your financial stress?

In all, we received 235 responses.

Here are the top responses from our readers:

  • Over-save and live within their means (15%)
  • Do more research (8%)
  • Develop a financial plan and stick to it (7.2%)
  • Maintain a long-term outlook, build a diversified portfolio (5.5% tie)

Here is a sampling of the responses from our readers as to the steps they take to reduce their financial stress:

  • “Have balanced portfolios with mostly quality large-cap stocks with good dividends and a few growth stocks.”
  • “Systematic and well-planned withdrawals from investment accounts. Always need to look ahead three to five years.”
  • “Having a guaranteed income stream which meets most of my financial needs and staying the course in a balanced asset management program .”
  • “Following the philosophy that it is not how much you spend but how much you don’t spend, especially on unnecessary expenses.”
  • “Living within my means and making sound value-investments.”
  • “Plan ahead to minimize surprises, have adequate reserves to ride out negative events, and reduce/remove debt so you can build and maintain positive cash flow.”
  • “I try not to stress over circumstances beyond my control.”

Everybody has an opinion! Why not give us yours? Participate in our weekly member poll, updated every Monday, and see the results online at www.aaii.com/memberquestion.


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