The 10 Worst Money Problems Americans Faced in 2016

Broken piggy bank with coins & hammer

Broken piggy bank with coins & hammer |

Are money troubles keeping you up at night? If you often find yourself anxious about how you’re going to make ends meet each month, you’re not alone. Many Americans are facing financial uncertainty. In fact, a recent survey conducted by ClearVoice Research for mobile marketplace OfferUp found that 84% of Americans report having financial concerns, and 46% struggle to meet their household expenses on time each month. The survey asked more than 1,000 Americans as well as residents of 10 major U.S. cities about their financial struggles and concerns. Here are the 10 worst money problems people are facing this year, according to OfferUp.

10. Moving expenses

Couple lying on floor with cartons

Moving day |

When it comes to stressful one-off expenses, respondents said costs associated with moving were a top concern. If this is one of your concerns, there are several ways you can cut costs. One way is through hunting for free supplies, such as cardboard boxes. For example, some grocery and department stories throw away empty cardboard boxes at the end of the day, and will give them to customers who ask. 

9. Obligatory travel


Airplane |

Obligatory travel costs are also on the list of one-time financial concerns. When one of life’s surprises requires you to get on a plane, it can be stressful for your wallet. One way to hedge against this type of surprise is to make sure you have some money tucked away in an emergency savings fund.

8. Lifestyle expenses

Man shopping

Man shopping |

Despite the financial trouble it often brings, many are still trying to keep up with the Joneses. Another source of stress for Americans is the fear they won’t be able to maintain the same lifestyle as their friends. This type of thinking is dangerous for your finances. Did you ever stop and think about the possibility that your friends could be living a borrowed lifestyle? The Joneses just might be paying for their fancy clothes and expensive dinners out with credit. So unless you can truly afford it (and even then, that’s not an excuse to go out and spend frivolously), realize that you’re just putting unnecessary strain on yourself and your wallet. Find a new group of friends, preferably ones with live at or below their means. You can help each other save money by demonstrating good financial habits.

7. Educational costs

young man walking outside with a backpack over one shoulder

Man walking to class |

College costs continue to rise, and many parents are feeling the financial strain. In fact, so many parents are stretched that some are telling their kids they’ll have to foot the bill at some point during their college careers. The OfferUp study reported that 39% of parents are having difficulty meeting their children’s upcoming expenses.

6. Leisure vacation

man and woman enjoying vacation at a beach

Vacation |

While Americans are concerned about being able to pay for leisure travel (18%), another study found that some are actually putting vacations ahead of retirement savings. A study by TIAA found that 24% make short-term savings (such as for vacations and appliances) a top savings priority.

5. Holiday and birthday gifts

Source: iStock

Gifts |

When it comes to affording holiday and birthday gifts, roughly 24% worry about being able to shell out enough cash to get decent gifts for friends and family. If you’re worried about this each year, your best bet is to start a savings fund dedicated to holiday and birthday gifts. This way, you won’t be taken off guard when those special days roll around. Another option is to make your own gifts or re-gift presents you don’t want (as long as they’re in good condition).

4. House payments

Three Monopoly houses on top of money.

House payments | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Roughly 24% of respondents fear they won’t be able to keep up with house payments. If you’re having trouble keeping up with payments, make sure you contact your lender as soon as possible so that you can go over your options. If you wait too long, you’ll have fewer options available to you.

3. Retirement

Retirement plan with graphs and glasses

Retirement |

People are not only stressed about saving for retirement, but also about their retirement timeline. Approximately 32% of respondents said they were fearful they wouldn’t be able to retire when they wanted. If this describes you, you’ll want to start saving for retirement sooner rather than later. In addition, resist the urge to put your child’s college educational expenses before your own savings goals.  

2. Medical expenses

emergency room entrance

Emergency room |

Even if you’re strong and healthy, and you haven’t gotten a cold in years, you’re still susceptible to a major medical emergency. Unfortunately, you’re not immune from acquiring an illness that could leave you flat on your back. If you got sick, would you be able to cover a large hospital bill? Unfortunately, the answer is “no,” for some Americans. In OfferUp’s study, about 36% of respondents said they would not be able to handle a significant medical expense.

 1. Emergency savings

piggy bank with coins

Emergency savings |

Americans are anxious about not having enough emergency savings. If disaster were to strike unexpectedly (as it usually does), 53% of the study respondents said they’re worried about being able to pay for it. A report by Bankrate found that fewer than 4 in 10 Americans have the money to manage a large cost outside of their regular budgets (that is, if they even have a budget).

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