One third of American workers surveyed by a financial education service last year were found to have serious debt problems. The results of the financial wellness assessment, which were released last month, highlighted some interesting findings regarding how much stress these workers felt about their financial situation and levels of debt.
A full 85 percent of respondents reported feeling some degree of financial stress. Interestingly, however, of those who reported overwhelming stress, less than half said they paid their bills on time and only 6 percent said that they had an emergency fund.
Overall, women tended to report feeling more financial stress than men. For example:
-- Among workers making less than $60,000 per year, 13 percent of men reported no financial stress, while only 9 percent of women did.
-- Among people whose household income was $100,000 or above, 83 percent of women reported feeling financially stressed, while 77 percent of men did. In this same income bracket, 17 percent of women reported high or overwhelming stress, compared to 13 percent of men.
-- Women's level of financial stress seemed to be more dependent on whether they had children than men's.
-- Among workers under 30, 9 percent of women reported feeling overwhelming financial stress, while just 5 percent of men in that age group did.
One might assume that most workers heading into their retirement years (those 55 and older), would report feeling financial stress. However, only 23 percent did. Whether this lack of stress reflects their reality is another matter. The assessment found that a significant percentage (28 percent) had high levels of debt, half reported being uncertain about whether they were prepared for retirement and one third had no emergency savings.
Among the key sources of debt for most people are student loans, credit card balances and medical bills. Despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act that allowed many more people to qualify for and afford health insurance, many people still facing overwhelming medical debt if they or a family member suffer a serious illness or injury. The last thing you need when you're sick or injured is to be stressed out about how you're going to pay your medical bills. It may be beneficial to get some legal guidance.
Source: Becker's Hospital Review, "Medical bills lead to serious debt for some Americans: 6 things to know," Kelly Gooch, July 20, 2016