Money: It’s said to be the root of all evil. Old adages like: “More money, more problems” and “money isn’t everything” remind us that being wealthy can bring turmoil and strife to some people.
On the other hand, when you have enough money, things certainly do seem at least a little bit easier. Financial freedom can bring a sense of relief, as it can allow you to buy a nice home, reliable cars, and allow you to pay bills and debts obligations on time each month. Generally speaking, those who have a sense of financial security simply have one less thing to worry about.
Second only to job pressures, money concerns have historically been the most common causes of stress among Americans. But in 2014, money issues actually topped the charts as the most common causes of stress among Americans, and nearly three out of four adults (72%) said they felt money-related stresses at least some of the time.
Why? Well, partly because money problems impact a large portion of the American population.
Check out this table below, which contains 2012 data from the Social Security Administration on personal income distribution:
|If you make more than $5,000 annually…||Than you earn more than 15.17% of Americans|
|If you make more than $10,000 annually…||Than you earn more than 24.18% of Americans|
|If you make more than $25,000…||Than you earn more than 46.65% of Americans|
|If you make more than $50,000…||Than you earn more than 73.43% of Americans|
|If you make more than $100,000…||Than you earn more than 92.56% of Americans|
|If you earn more than $250,000…||Than you earn more than roughly 99% of Americans|
|If you earn more than $1 million…||Than you earn more than 99.92% of Americans|
Notice how only a tiny portion of the population earns six figures or more. Hey, only a relative handful even earn enough money to cover all of the expenses a typical household requires — a mortgage payment (or rent), a car payment and insurance, grocery, utilities, etc. Perhaps this plays a large role in why we’re seeing so many two-income households these days.
Considering how tough it is to make a living, it’s no wonder so many of us are stressed out about money. Check out a few interesting facts about money, and its impact on your stress levels on the following page.
1. The lower your income, the higher your stress
A 2014 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that those with lower incomes are more prone to stress than those with higher incomes. And, over the past several years, the gap in stress levels between low and high income groups has widened. According to the APA report,
In 2007, there was no difference in reported average stress levels between those who earned more and those who earned less than $50,000, with both groups reporting the same average levels of stress (6.2 on a 10-point scale). By 2014, a clear gap had emerged with those living in lower-income households reporting higher overall stress levels than those living in higher-income households (5.2 vs. 4.7 on the 10-point scale, where 1 is “little or no stress” and 10 is “a great deal of stress”)
This indicates that a gap emerged during a time when the economy was on an upswing. Perhaps a feeling of “we’re all in it together” played a role in there being a lack of a gap between the two income groups in economic downtimes.
2. Being unable to afford health care can actually make you sick
Money problems cause stress that causes physical symptoms and even health complications. But those who stress about money problems may even neglect their health care to save the money they are so stressed about, which in turn causes other, additional stresses (health-related, etc.). It’s a vicious cycle.
The APA reports that nearly 1 in 5 Americans say that they have either considered skipping (9%) or skipped (12%) going to the doctor when they needed health care because they were too worried about the financial impact. Money stresses hindered them from receiving necessary care. That same stress, however, increases your risk of heart disease by 40%, increases your risk of heart attack by 25%, and it increase your risk of stroke by 50%. Those who are stressed may also be inclined to overeat, eat unhealthy, and have irregular sleep patterns.
3. One of the best stress relievers is something money can’t buy
One of the best stress relievers, according to the APA report, is emotional support. Venting and leaning on friends and family can be just the right medicine when you’re stressed to the max.
Survey findings show that Americans who say they have emotional support — specifically, that they have someone they can ask for emotional support if they need it, such as family and friends — report lower stress levels and better related outcomes than those without emotional support…Forty-three percent of those who say they have no emotional support report that their overall stress has increased in the past year, compared with 26 percent of those who say they have emotional support.