I read an article on MSN about what the #1 cause of financial stress in every state was. As with most of these types of articles, i.e. “the most searched item online in each state”, I assumed it was going to be a fluff article. This one for the most part, showed legitimate concerns. The following number of states main causes of financial stress were:
- 33 states – paying off debt.
- 8 states – not having enough money to build an emergency fund
- 1 state – not being able to retire
- 1 state – wanting a nicer lifestyle
- 1 state – wanting a nicer lifestyle and not being able to retire
- 1 state – wanting to retire and not being able to pay for education
- 1 state – not being able to retire and not able to pay off debt
- 2 states – not being able to pay for education
- 1 state – not being able to build up an emergency fund and not able to pay off debt
- 1 state – not having a stable income and not able to pay off debt
- 1 state – not being able to retire, pay for education and pay for rent or mortgage.
These are all valid concerns.
- Not being able to payoff debt. Debt may be caused, in some part, by people overspending, but, with the way salaries are not increasing as much as they should, are most likely caused out of need. Higher medical costs and gas prices may cause people to put the most mundane things on their credit cards out of need or desperation.
- Not being able to retire. This shouldn’t be considered a want. Retirement is an entitlement that people should have. We work our entire life to only have to continue working until we die because our government didn’t manage our social security budget properly. Did you know, the age of retirement is increasing in Denmark, but, the reason is because of a higher than average lifespan.
- Wanting a nicer lifestyle. This can be considered more of a want, but, why not? We work, we should be allowed a nicer lifestyle. We shouldn’t have to tell ourselves that we can’t take a small vacation because we then won’t be able to afford to pay the electric bill. It’s frivolous, and I get that. But, to be happier in life, we do NEED a little frivolity.
- Not able to pay for your education. Did you know, there are a lot of countries that you get hired at a company and then THEY pay for your education. No limits and it’s not considered taxable income? In the U.S., yes, there are companies that pay for your education after you’ve been with them for a year. The first $5,250 is not taxed and they cap it out at $10,000. The last $4,750 is taxable. And colleges in the U.S.? Cost MORE than $10,000. Denmark is a prime example of a country wanting their citizens to achieve greatness if they want to. They encourage their employees to go to school. I use Denmark because Denmark is also listed as the happiest country in the world for a variety of reasons.
- Building up an emergency fund. This one is definitely a necessity. If you get laid off or you have an accident and can’t work? There are several reasons you NEED an emergency fund. An ideal one would be six months of bills. Preferably a year. However, if you’re in debt? If you make almost nothing as a salary? How can you build an emergency fund? It’s a catch 22. Most people are taking on second jobs to either payoff debt or to build an emergency fund.
- Paying rent or mortgage. This? Also a necessity. People need a roof over their heads. Unfortunately, in our community, businesses want to make money and rents are through the roof for an apartment. I lived in an apartment about ten years ago. I was paying $850 a month. After being the ideal tenant, no complaints about anything, paid my rent on time every month. Sometimes early. I get a letter saying they are not renewing my lease. The reason? They wanted me to move out so they could renovate the apartment and charge $300 more per month. Ummmm. Well, an older couple, who had been there 30+ years got a lawyer. The management company backed down and sent out letters that we didn’t have to move. Sorry, I don’t stay loyal to companies that show no loyalty to me. I told them this and moved. I would never recommend them as a place to live. It seems to be able to live in an apartment, or to own a home, it feels that you must have two incomes coming in, unless you’re kicking butt in the salary department. And if you don’t have two incomes coming in? You need two jobs. Kind of fails in the wanting a nicer lifestyle category, you think?
- Not having a stable income. This was from Rhode Island, who has a 5.5% unemployment rate. This rate is higher than the national average. Their other stress was not able to payoff debt. Well, yes, having no job could hinder that for most people. I’ve never been to Rhode Island, but, with its tourist attractions, I’m kind of surprised that their unemployment rate is so high. Going into Connecticut for a job may be an idea?
While I know that no country is perfect. Even the happiest of them all. These stress causes are legitimate. Some of them should be unnecessary. Retirement should not be a fantasy. The government misspending that money and not paying it back is causing us to have to increase our age of retirement. I think the millennial generation are onto something in getting their travels on now and then worrying about work later. They are also the generation with the lowest debt and more of them are saying no to credit cards according to BankRate.com. Good for them. I wish I grew up with that mentality.
What is your number one financial cause of stress in your life?