Financial Concerns Overwhelming for Many Americans

Fifty-one percent of Americans fret over being able to afford more than just the basics.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by financial trouble?

Leading indicators such as the Dow Jones Industrial Index point toward a healthy economy. Just don’t tell that to the average American because they’re not listening. They have other things on their mind. According to a new survey of over 2,000 adults by The Harris Poll, 63 percent of parents with children under 18 don’t think they’ll be able to afford college for them. Fifty-five percent are concerned they’ll have to work beyond the retirement age, which is 67 for people born after 1959.

What else are Americans worried about?

  • Forty-one percent don’t think they’ll have enough money for the basics, such as food clothing, a house and transportation.
  • Sixty-eight percent of self-employed Americans don’t think they’ll have enough funds for retirement.
  • Sixty-three percent of the self-employed think health care costs will become too expensive for them.

The generation gap

When the data is broken up into generations, younger Americans are more worried. For example, 64 percent of Millennials and 74 percent of Gen Xers are concerned about affording retirement – compared to the general 55 percent mentioned above.

Housing is also a great concern for many younger Americans. Twenty-three percent of Americans with a mortgage are concerned about losing their home. That jumps to 32 percent for Millennials that have a home and a mortgage. For the younger generations who don’t own homes, 66 percent of Millennials and 68 percent of Gen Xers don’t think they’ll have enough money to buy one.

Financial tips to ease the worry

Considering so many Americans are sounding the alarm when it comes to their financial situation, Gary Herman, president of Consolidated Credit, collected a variety of tips to ease the pain.

  • Budgeting: If you don’t have a budget, create one as soon as possible. Budgeting is the best way to track and cut down your spending. Don’t forget to include retirement savings in it.
  • Housing counseling: For all the young Americans worried about losing their homes or don’t yet own a home, housing counseling helps you manage your most important asset.
  • Saving for college: Affording college and avoiding college loan debt is a difficult. That’s why it’s important to start saving now, and learn what avenues, such as financial aid, are available to you.
  • Retirement planning: As mentioned above, budgeting for retirement is essential, but there are other things you can do such as taking advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan. There is some good news regarding retirement as noted in “Can You Really Retire with Enough Money?”

The financial pressures that are heaped on people can really stir up some frightening feelings,” says Herman. “Just the thought of losing your home or going bankrupt is enough to keep you up at night. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan, even if that means talking with a certified credit counselor or financial planner to help get your financial strategies rolling. But even they will tell you, it all starts with budgeting and cutting spending. That’s the key.”