Flights of Fancy Mom

I'm a mom with dreams.  I want to live my life with no boundaries.  One day at a time.

7 Financial Causes of Stress in America

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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.  So, I decided to highlight some of the more important financial causes of stress in America. But, from MSN, the following number of states main financial causes of stress in America were:

  • 33 states – paying off debt.
  • 8 states – not having enough money to build an emergency fund
  • 1 state – not being able to retire
  • Wanting a nicer lifestyle
  • Another, 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
  • 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. Read on for my list of 7 financial causes of stress in America that struck home with me.

  • 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.

financial causes of stress in America

  • 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. Read here to see why I’m not waiting longer than I have to, to collect Social Security.
  • 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.
financial causes of stress in america

Courtesy of

  • 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. To get a handle on some of your debt, having a financial planner is a great resource. 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  Good for them.  I wish I grew up with that mentality.

From this list of financial causes of stress in America, what is your number one financial cause of stress in your life? Would you add any others to this list? Comment below or share on my Facebook page!

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  1. dana vento (@danavento)

    Ahh the stress of finances in America or anywhere. Debt accumulation as you so clearly stated is no joke and it can take tolls on relationships, life and health.

  2. Sara-Jayne

    Debt is the worst stressor – and I always feel terrible for my USA friends when I compare their health care to ours in the UK. We have such a huge benefits system in the UK that it’s almost like a huge cushion. I can’t imagine how much worse the stress is in the USA.

    1. Jacqui S (Post author)

      Sara-Jayne – Your medical treatments are covered 100%, correct? What are your taxes at?

  3. Ben Butler

    I would say the biggest financial cause of stress in my life is our house. We’re paying for it, but we’re also not able to save. My job isn’t physically stressful, but no one can work until they’re dead. I’m afraid paying for the house will completely ruin any chance of a retirement fund.

  4. Pam Wattenbarger

    Medical bills can be such a financial stressor. We are doing okay now but when my dad was sick we were very worried about paying everything and being able to keep him in the care he needed. He had to have a special oxygen machine (he would go through 5 tanks of oxygen in less than 30 minutes) but his insurance didn’t consider oxygen treatment a reason to be in a care facility. So stressful.

    1. Jacqui S (Post author)

      OMG. Ummm, Oxygen is needed! How is that not a reason? Ugh. Unfortunately Insurance companies will always try to find a way not to pay for what you are paying them for

  5. piernirandara

    Thank you for talking about a difficult subject! These variety of stressors such as medical bills or student loans can be really affecting on daily life.

  6. dee

    Debt is something that we all have to deal with, but I do believe with some life style change we we can be pro-active to fight our debt instead of accepting it.


    Sometimes adulting sucks. i think a lot of problems stem from finances and such as we get older. Thankfully I’m a planner and a budgeter who is very strict so I don’t really deal with that often..

  8. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    There are so many different causes of financial stress in America. I tend to plan and organize my financial life to try to stay on top of things.

  9. brandyellen

    What an interesting topic to discuss. I honestly had not thought of this before but it makes sense.

  10. tiarasandtantrums

    Right now I think our main concerns is looking towards college funds. We have a great start for our kids, but college is so expensive these days

  11. Lisa (@blm03)

    How we are going to pay for catholic high school

  12. Melissa Dixon

    I think debt is a real worry for most people because they just can’t find a way to get out of it. It’s like you are barely staying above water and things keep piling up to bring you down and no matter how hard you work you can’t seem to make any progress. I think student loans are a big part of this for some people.

  13. jennifer

    this is interesting. and the first 3 are fascinating because they building on each other. you have to pay off your debt, before you can build an emergency fund, before you can retire… and oh my word, what if someone is unable to save for retirement. so many people live in the now instead of planning for the future.

  14. Rika (@thedealmatch)

    This is a great information. My main concern is paying tuition, it’s getting more expensive

  15. Nicole Haas Etolen

    I totally agree! We should manage our resources more careful than before so we don’t get financially distress.

  16. LaShawn Wiltz

    I worry about being able to retire all the time! We should all be managing our resources better to avoid stress!

  17. ohnikkashae

    My stress sometimes I to keep my second saving available. My emergency fund I want to do better.

  18. Marielle Altenor

    My stay at home life is coming to an end. I have to go back to work to help pay off the debts.


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