FINANCIAL ADVISOR MAGAZINE
MAY 4, 2015 • CHRISTOPHER ROBBINS
It isn’t their health. It isn’t their kids. It’s not even traffic. According to a new study, Americans point to household finances as the leading cause of stress in their lives.
The study by Limra found that 42 percent of Americans said that household finances caused “somewhat high” or “very high” stress levels in their daily lives. Coming in second, personal health and work issues were each cited as a high source of stress by 29 percent of consumers.
“In an effort to gauge the opportunities for our member companies, Limra is exploring the topic of financial wellness in America,” said Jennifer Douglas, Limra’s associate research director, development research. “Our first study assessed the financial wellness of all consumers relative to each other, identified where financial stress takes its greatest toll, and measured consumer receptivity to financial education programs.”
While the majority of the respondents, 60 percent, said they were saving for retirement, only 32 percent had a long-term financial plan. Bearing that out, 42 percent of respondents had no rainy-day savings, and only 18 percent reported being debt free.
On the bright side, 80 percent of the study’s respondents said they were interested in financial education, with 38 percent desiring one-on-one guidance from a financial advisor.
“Consumers with the highest stress levels are looking for basic financial education like budgeting, reducing debt and understanding employee benefits. Effective financial wellness programs should address these fundamental topics, as well as retirement planning and other long term interests.”
The study showed that daily stress required consumers’ time and attention and/or consumed their thoughts and affected 70 percent of Americans in one or more common areas, including finances, health, work, relationships and daily life.
While few respondents named raising children as a cause of daily stress, children in the household increased the likelihood for stress in other areas, the study said. Work also ranked highly as a source of anxiety, with half of full-time workers reporting stress issues from their job.