Americans’ financial worry has eased to its lowest level since before the recession.
Americans’ financial worry has eased to its lowest level since before the recession, Gallup reported Monday.
Just over half (53 percent) of Americans are highly or moderately worried about their financial well-being, down from a peak of 61 percent a year ago, and the lowest since 45 percent in 2007. The polling organization asked Americans how much they worry about seven different personal financial matters, including retirement, maintaining their current standard of living, medical costs, housing costs, and paying normal monthly bills.
One-fourth of Americans surveyed said they are worried about at least six of the seven items, putting them in the “highly worried” category. Another 28 percent worry about three-to-five items and are classified as “moderately worried. Nearly half (47 percent) said they have few financial worries, including 23 percent who said they are worried about none of the seven items.
Not surprisingly, the 2008 economic collapse wreaked havoc with Americans’ sense of financial well-being. In the years between 2001-2007, a maximum of 51 percent were either highly or moderately worried about financial matters, Gallup found, compared with a range of 53 percent to 61 percent since then.
Not having enough money for retirement ranks as the financial matter about which Americans are most worried, followed by not having enough money to pay medical costs in case of a serious illness or accident.
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Just over half (51 percent) said they are most worried about maintaining their standard of living, while 44 percent fret about not having enough to pay normal monthly bills.
Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner found a similar ebbing of financial concern in a first quarter survey of Mass Affluent investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million. Seventy percent said their primary financial concern is maintaining their current financial position, down from 72 percent last year. Fifty-eight percent said they are most worried about the financial situation of their children or grandchildren, down from 67 percent.
Concern over personal health and the health of family members also eased slightly from 2012.
Nearly half (48 percent) said their financial situation is better today than it was last year, while 46 percent expect it will be stronger one year from now. This less than ringing endorsement may account for a decided conservative risk tolerance that emerged in this year’s survey, with 62 perent of thee investors saying they would prefer a guanrateed rate of return for a majority of their investments, compared with 31 percent who are willing to take a significant risk on a portion of their investments to earn a high return.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.