Do you lose sleep over money?

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USA Today

via Moak: Do you lose sleep over money?, clarionledger.com

PDF: Losing sleep over money

Most of us have been there. Long nights spent tossing and turning, wondering where you were going to get the money to pay the bills coming due. For most people, running out of money is one of their deepest fears. According to Chapman University’s annual Fear Survey, the fear of running out of money ranks ninth among the top 10 things over which Americans feel most “afraid” or “very afraid.”

But it turns out that, although a lot of us do lose sleep worrying about money, apparently women toss and turn a good deal more. The website Creditcards.com recently released the results of a survey indicating that nearly 7 in 10 women (68 percent) report money worries keep them awake at least occasionally, while only a little more than half (56 percent) of men worry so much they can’t sleep. And this trend is only growing more pronounced; during the past year, the gap between men and women grew eight percentage points.

The survey first began collecting data annually in 2007.

CreditCards.com asked survey participants to rank five specific financial issues — saving for retirement, paying for education, paying health care or insurance bills, paying the monthly rent or mortgage, and paying credit card debt. “There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground when it comes to Americans’ financial worries,” said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst. “Many folks have none at all, but many of us are worried about several different problems all at once.”

As retirement looms larger and larger for those in their 40s and 50s, we worry about having enough money saved up for retirement. But even younger adults are worrying about retirement earlier and earlier.

Other financial anxieties that keep us awake:

Paying for Education. Affording educational expenses is the No. 1 concern for many, but especially for millennials and nonwhites; for men, this fear ranks second behind retirement.

Paying for health care or insurance bills. This is the second biggest fear among women; educational expenses rank second among men.

Interestingly, those of us between 50 and 64 appear to be the most worried about money; financial anxiety appears to drop sharply after we reach 65. And while it might be assumed most of us worry about credit card debt, that’s apparently not the case.

“The fact that credit card debt is the least of people’s worries seems like a positive sign,” Schulz said. “It seems to indicate that despite balances continuing to rise after the Great Recession, most Americans feel they have their card debt well under control.”

Here is Creditcards.com’s list of the top 5 money fears that keep us awake:

  1. Saving enough money for retirement
  2. The ability to pay for educational expenses for yourself or a family member
  3. Health care or insurance bills
  4. Ability to pay your mortgage or monthly rent bill
  5. The ability to pay your credit card debt

Although financial experts warn us paying just the minimum on a credit card bill is a bad idea over time because it is one of the most costly types of debt, some people find it can help you quit worrying about it in the short term. “You can just pay the minimum so you have less anxiety,” explained Brad Klontz, co-founder of the Financial Psychology Institute and association professor of economics and finance at Creighton University. “That way you are servicing the debt, but it doesn’t have to impact your daily life. You’re ‘taking care of it.’”

To sleep better, Klontz advises writing down your problems, which can help because it puts your thoughts into visible form, acknowledging the message your subconscious is trying to send you and helping you formulate a plan to address it. “The racing thoughts at night is a subconscious way of trying to bring a problem to your attention, so it’s quite likely that during your waking hours, you are pushing this issue aside or focusing on something else,” he explained.

To read the entire report, visit www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/poll-women-more-sleepless-nights.php.

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