Financial Insomnia

May 30, 2017 by has annually been surveying Americans about their chief financial worries since 2007. In 2017—for the first time ever—health care and health insurance top the list of money vulnerabilities over which Americans are losing sleep.

Last year 29% of Americans surveyed said they fretted in bed at night about health care and insurance. A year later the figure is 38%, a whopping 31% jump in the portion of Americans worried over the potential financial consequences of being or getting ill.

Given that Americans eagerly (with just a little nudge from Vladimir Putin) put Obamacare-hating Republicans in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House last November, one might have predicted that anxiety about the financial consequences of getting sick would have subsided post-election. Nope. Curious. Maybe anxiety will ease once all the “bad hombres” have been deported and an impenetrable southern border wall built, as that will then resolve many of America’s problems, the way I understand it.

Americans’ Top Financial Worries

You might be wondering what else keeps Americans awake at night besides sickness-induced bankruptcy. Here’s the Top 5:

#1: Health care and health insurance: 38% lose sleep over it

Healthcare costs have long been the top reason for bankruptcy in the U.S.A. With the Congressional Budget Office projecting that 23 million Americans insured today—about 7% of the country’s total population—will lose health insurance coverage by 2026 under the Republican American Health Care Act of 2017 that recently passed the House of Representatives, it’s no wonder many are concerned. (Of course the Tweeter-in-Chief will simply announce the impact of the AHCA—”we’ve fixed all the terrible problems of Obamacare and replaced it with the greatest system in the history of the world”—and his groupies will believe him, even as the medical debt collector harasses them right into the grave, and beyond. And I suspect the CBO is just a bunch of pin-headed elitists anyway, am I right?)

#2: Saving enough for retirement: 37%

Yep, no surprise here.

#3: Repaying student loans: 34%

You could see this one coming too. Sure glad I made it through university while state politicians still believed in higher education as a public good.

#4: Meeting the mortgage/rent payment: 25%

An oldie but a goodie. Homelessness, though seemingly popular, is no fun.

#5: Paying off credit card debt: 22%

Based on what I see from where I sit, a lot more than 22% of Americans should be losing sleep over their credit card debt. But maybe many are in denial and foolishly content to waste money paying Capital One 20%+ interest, so they quit worrying long ago about paying off their credit debt. Just max ’em out, make the minimums, and all is right with the world!

What’s Your Top Financial Worry?

Does anything money-related keep you awake at night?

I’ll confess my top money worry (though it doesn’t keep me awake): I have to help pay for another Wall Street bail out, this time with a ripple effect in Canada, where I live and pay taxes.

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