401k Freak Out: Americans Increasingly Worried About Retirement

Survey finds money causes more stress than relationships and work combined

401k, financial anxiety, Northwestern MutualOverwhelmed is an understatement.

More Americans are feeling anxious about saving for retirement, and at least four in 10 are stressed about money in general.

In a recent survey, Northwestern Mutual discovered that 41 percent of people consider planning for retirement a cause of “high” or “moderate” levels of anxiety. Last year 37 percent of respondents felt this way.

The 2018 Planning & Progress Study revealed that money is, in fact, a dominant source of stress (44 percent agreed), causing far more emotional strain than personal relationships (25 percent) and work (18 percent).

Survey results exposed several sources of financial pressure above and beyond retirement planning, as well, such as the rising cost of healthcare, financial emergencies, health emergencies, income, savings and debt.

“The psychological and lifestyle implications of financial anxiety are sobering,” Northwestern Mutual noted in its report. “More than a quarter of Americans said that financial anxiety makes them feel depressed at least monthly, with 17 percent suffering depression as often as weekly, daily and even hourly.”

For some (41 percent), worrying about money has impacted their relationship with a spouse or partner. One in five respondents say they argue with their significant other about finances on a monthly basis.

Thirty-eight percent say financial anxiety has caused issues with other family members. And almost half of those surveyed (45 percent) have missed out on social events because they were concerned about money.

“Life is meant to be spent living not worrying,” Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning at Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. “A financial strategy can play an important role in easing financial anxiety.”

“The formula is simple,” she added. “Financial security creates options, and options empower people to curate the life they want—both in the present and the future.”

Study results indicate as much. Almost nine in 10 Americans say that nothing makes them happier or more confident than having their finances in order.

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