Is the Industry to Blame for Americans’ Obsessive Worrying About Finances?


Should we be worrying? Chuck Jaffe of Market Watch reports on two recent surveys of Americans that show obsessive levels of worrying about finances.

The 2015 “Life + Money Survey” from, released this month, showed that Americans think more about money on a daily basis than about anything else, including their health and fitness or their love lives.

. . . .

Part of the “I’ll never get there” worry problem comes from a financial-planning industry that talks about ideal levels of saving and investment without recognizing that falling short of those high levels of saving doesn’t leave that individual destitute.

For example, the standard planning advice is that an investor needs to amass a portfolio that is big enough so that they can live off a 4% return on their nest egg. In other words, someone who needs a $50,000 annual income in retirement needs to amass $1.25 million.

Not surprisingly, that kind of savings feels impossible for workers who have raised a family, helped to pay for college and simply haven’t saved sufficiently over their working life.

The financial professionals respond that the real problem may be worrying without doing anything about it:

“You can worry all the time, but you actually have to do something if you really want to change it,” said Cameron Huddleston, a personal finance expert for “You will still have worries — you start out afraid that you’re not saving, and then you move to worrying about not saving enough, and then to whether you can actually make your goals and so on — but the more action you take, the better you should feel.”

The entire Market Watch article can be found here.

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