consumer trends

65% Losing Sleep Over Money; Health Care Costs Now Lead List of Worries

Losing sleep over finances hits post-recession peak

AUSTIN, Texas, April 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Sixty five percent of Americans are losing sleep because of money, according to a new report.

The most common worry – expressed by 38% of Americans – is health care or insurance bills. Thirty seven percent lie awake fretting about saving enough for retirement, 34% because of educational expenses, 26% over mortgage/rent bills and 22% due to credit card debt.

Health care and educational expenses are the only categories in worse shape now than during the Great Recession. Concerns over health care costs have spiked over the past year (up nine percentage points).

In 2007, just prior to the recession, 56% of Americans said they were losing sleep over one of these five topics. During the recession (2009), the figure jumped to 69%. It fell to 62% each of the past two years and ticked up to 65% this year.

Gen Xers are the most concerned about health care expenditures and saving for retirement. Millennials are the most fearful about outlays for education, housing and credit card debt. These issues are cutting into the slumbers of 73% of Gen Xers, 71% of millennials, 59% of Baby Boomers and 48% of the Silent Generation.

People who are losing sleep over money aren’t taking it lying down: 82% reported taking at least one step to improve their financial situation over the past year versus 54% of those who aren’t losing sleep. The most common action the insomniacs took was to reduce expenses, followed by selling something, signing up for a new credit card and taking on a second job.

Out of control…

“People lose sleep when things feel out of control,” said Matt Schulz,’s senior industry analyst. “Take back some of that control by taking action. Even small moves like making a budget, selling something of value or trimming expenses can make you feel empowered and help you sleep more peacefully at night.”

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (500, including 308 without a landline phone) in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from April 6-9, 2017. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Excerpts from the Financial Insomnia Poll:

  • Health care tops all worries. Of the five times has done this money worries poll since 2007, this is the first time health care has been the greatest producer of insomnia.
  • Saving for retirement still worrisome: Thirty-seven percent said they lie awake at night worrying about saving for retirement, down from 39 percent in 2016. Nearly half of Gen-Xers said they occasionally lose sleep over retirement savings.
  • Student loans robs shut-eye. Many more Americans are losing sleep over their ability to pay educational expenses – from 30 percent in 2016 to 34 percent this year. Younger millennials (ages 18-26) are more sleep deprived over student loans than any other group.
  • Mortgage and rent woes stay constant: Worry over making the monthly mortgage or rent payment keeps about 1 in 4 Americans up at night, about the same percentage as every poll since 2009.
  • Credit card debt? We mostly sleep through it. Paying off credit card debt (22 percent) keeps people up at night the least of any money worry. It has remained a relatively small concern since the Great Recession despite ballooning card balances and rising interest rates.
  • Spending less is key to a good night’s sleep. For this year’s survey, we asked a new question: What are you doing about your worries? Of those losing sleep, nearly 2 in 3 (64 percent) said they reduced their expenses to improve their financial situation in the past 12 months.

Read the entire poll here.




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