Posted February 9th, 2015 under Peace of Mind
A Look at Finance-Induced Stress and its Effects on Americans
Tags: obamacare, financial stress
A February 2015 report by the American Psychological Association (APA) shed light on the stress levels of United States citizens. The findings showed that despite an improvement in the U.S. economy, money issues continued to be the leading cause of stress for Americans. According to Executive Vice President and APA CEO, Norman B. Anderson, PhD, “Regardless of the economic climate, money and finances have remained the top stressor since our survey began in 2007. Furthermore, this year’s survey shows that stress related to financial issues could have a significant impact on Americans’ health and well-being.” The same study goes on to state that “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans say that they have either considered skipping (9 percent) or skipped (12 percent) going to the doctor when they needed health care because of financial concerns.”
This revelation may come as a surprise to some considering the passing of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. However, the previously hidden costs of this policy have been shoved into the spotlight in recent months as Americans have finally started feeling the financial effects.
A 2014 Forbes article by Avik Roy, 3,137-County Analysis: Obamacare Increased 2014 Individual-Market Premiums By Average of 49%, discusses an Obamacare impact analysis on over 3,000 different U.S. counties. The article begins by asking if the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name then cites these findings: “Last November, our team at the Manhattan Institute published a study indicating that Obamacare had increased the underlying cost of individually-purchased health insurance in the average state by 41 percent in 2014, relative to 2013.”
This study also found that while a few counties in New York state showed a decrease in premium prices by up to 70 percent, they were the exceptions. Most counties showed a significant increase with one in Missouri spiking by 271 percent and another in Minnesota jumping by 200 percent. With the Affordable Care Act proving to be anything but, it’s no surprise that Americans are skipping out on doctor visits due to worries about finances while experiencing increased stress levels regarding money matters.
Perhaps Obamacare has actually been detrimental to the health of the American citizens it so emphatically declared it would help.
But it isn’t just U.S. policies that may have Americans worried. Recent changes in central bank procedures have greatly devalued the currency of nations such as China, India, Canada, and Australia while the ECB has announced plans to release an estimated 1.3 trillion euros into its economy in a massive quantitative easing effort. The results of these changes have caused financial instability across the globe.
A February 2015 article in Financial Times entitled Weak Global Economy Worries US Officials, stated: “The Fed formally put overseas concerns on its agenda on Wednesday when it added ‘international developments’ to a list of swing factors in its policy statement—in wording that sent jitters through financial markets.”
Since many Americans have their 401(k)s, IRA’s and other retirement plans wrapped up in these financial markets, more than just U.S. officials have become concerned. According to a February 2015 article in CNN Money by Melanie Hicken, Money Issues are Still Really Stressing Americans Out, “Overall, top sources of money-related stress include: paying for unexpected expenses, paying for essentials like housing and groceries and saving for retirement.”
With many Americans also worrying about the possibilities of an Inflationary Depression, (see Peter Schiff’s interview by the Social Security Institute), Deflationary Depression, (see Jay Taylor’s interview with The Daily Bell), or the possible loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency (see this CNBC article), it’s no wonder money is at the top of the stress-causing list.
Financial Stress-Reducing Actions
Despite these concerns, however, there are things Americans can do to reduce their financial stress and better prepare for an uncertain financial future. In Hank Brock’s book, Dominoes of Destruction, he discusses several steps that will help Americans find greater security. These include:
- Putting 10 percent of assets into precious metals—especially silver.
- Getting out of debt by paying off credit cards, car loans, student loans, etc.
- Increasing food storage.
- Creating an achievable savings plan.
Increasing the level of preparation can help reduce levels of finance-induced stress. As Hank always says, “It is better to prepare than predict. When you predict, you are either right or wrong. When you prepare, you are right, regardless.”
Reduce Your Worries
If you would like help developing a financial plan to achieve peace of mind, request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation today.