Why 79% of Americans Are Scared to Discuss Their Finances

A new report into financial angst has shown just how many people are concerned about their finances, as it has revealed that the majority of Americans are struggling with financial stress – among other things. 

Financial Anxiety for Most

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NerdWallet’s 2024 report into financial angst delves into Americans’ deep concerns about money. It looks at financial stress, who taught them finances, and who Americans place their trust in to steer them in matters of money.

Intimidating Money Topics

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Primarily, the report found that talking about money can be pretty daunting for most people. A huge 79% of Americans felt intimidated by at least one money-related topic. The top three scary topics are cryptocurrency (32%), investing (30%), and creating/sticking to a budget (29%).

Generation Z and Financial Stress

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Young adults in Generation Z seem to feel the pressure most when it comes to handling money matters, with 92% of them claiming they find financial topics intimidating. 

Generational Gaps

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This feeling is less common among older generations, with 82% of millennials (ages 28-43), 75% of Generation X (ages 44-59), and 73% of baby boomers (ages 60-78) feeling the same.

Understanding the Youth’s Money Worries

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For Gen Z, some of the topics that stress them out the most are budgeting (45%), using credit cards wisely (37%), and doing taxes (36%). Additionally, 22% of Gen Zers feel intimidated by the process of navigating student loan options.

Family Influence

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When it comes to learning about managing money, many people get their lessons from family members. About half of Americans (50%) learned how to handle their money from parents or relatives. Surprisingly, only 30% of people recall talking about money within their families while growing up, and only 18% said they learned about money management in school.

How Parents Shape Financial Education (or Lack Thereof)

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This is probably the reason why Gen Z finds money matters such a stressful topic. Financial education is important, but a lot of families steer clear of the conversation entirely. Partly, it’s because parents might not feel confident about their own financial knowledge or want to shield their kids from worrying about money. 

The Importance of Early Financial Education

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However, learning these lessons early on can help ease financial worries when kids grow up and help them make better financial decisions in the future.

Social Media’s Influence

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According to NerdWallet, 1 in 8 Americans say that they learned how to manage their money through social media. 

Skepticism vs. Trust

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Tellingly, only 8% of respondents said they trust social media influencers when it comes to financial advice, which indicates that there’s a good deal of questioning going on when scrolling social media. Any information from social media should be fact-checked, as there’s A LOT of bad info out there.

Who Do Americans Trust Most with Money?

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Only about 1 in 5 Americans – roughly 20% – learned about managing money from financial experts. Despite this, most Americans – about 41% – trust financial advisors the most when seeking financial advice, closely followed by their parents or relatives – 35% – when it comes to money matters.

The Overwhelming Weight of Financial Pressure

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Financial stress is something most of us experience, according to NerdWallet. A massive 84% of Americans feel the weight of financial pressure. 

Major Financial Stressors

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The biggest stressors, as the study found, are the cost of food (50%), housing (40%), and a lack of savings (36%).

Age-Related Financial Stress

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The study found that these stress indicators vary by age range. 

Retirement Worries

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While 21% of all Americans reported worrying about being able to retire by 66, that figure rises to 34% among Gen Xers, who are getting closer and closer to retirement age.

Student Loan Anxiety

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Similarly, while only 12% of Americans are anxious about paying off student loans, that number doubles to 26% among Gen Zers who are at that typical College age.

Strategies to Manage Financial Stress Effectively

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If you’re feeling stressed out by the thought of managing your money, there are some things you can do to help you feel like you’re back in control.

Budgeting Basics

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We recommend first creating a monthly budget. Start by tracking your income and expenses, then break it down by categories – rent, food, transport, utilities, etc. Divvy up a portion of your income to each category and stick to this budget as closely as possible.

Motivation for Better Money Management

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Setting and sticking to financial goals is equally important. Figuring out some short-term and long-term financial goals will motivate you to manage your money better. 

Short-term vs. Long-term Goals

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Short-term goals can be things like saving for a vacation, while long-term goals would be things like retirement and buying a house.

The Power of Financial Education

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Thirdly, educate yourself. There is nothing that you can stress about that won’t be covered in books or blog posts and articles online. Nowadays, financial literacy is available at the press of a button. 

Overcoming Money Fears

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It is a lot better to nip stress in the bud rather than ignore it and let your fears about money take over.

The postWhy 79% of Americans Are Scared to Discuss Their Finances first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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