Our Greatest Concern Is Something We Don't Want to Talk About


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It's one of our greatest concerns but we would rather not talk about it. In fact, we would rather discuss politics, religion, our health -- and even death – than matters of money. Our personal finances are one of the most difficult topics for Americans to discuss, even though a Wells Fargo study reveals it's what we worry about most.

Nearly one in four (39%) Americans say that money causes the most stress in their life, and 39% say they are more worried about their finances now than they were last year. One third (33%) of those surveyed say the lose sleep worrying about money.

"It's not surprising people don't want to talk about money, investments, tax strategies, or even how much to put aside for a child's education," says Karen Wimbish with Wells Fargo. "There's a lack of understanding about the importance of designing a plan. Only a third of adults have some type of financial plan or a simple household budget in place, which means most Americans don't have the roadmap needed to improve their financial health."

Regrets? Americans have a few. When asked what they would do differently if they could go back five years, nearly half of Americans (49%) said they would save more and spend less. That clearly outranked other do-overs respondents wish they could take, including taking better care of their physical health, diet and fitness (42%), pursuing different personal relationships (21%), and working more to improve their career (16%).

Day to day, most Americans are comfortable with addressing their basic needs, but when it comes to big picture goals, we feel less in control. Two thirds (67%) feel in financially good or great shape with regards to paying their monthly bills, and over half (56%) feel financially good or great in their ability to live within their means. However, only 40% feel financially good or great about their amount of discretionary spending and about their "rainy day" savings. Only a third (33%) described feeling in good or great shape with their ability to retire comfortably.

One-third (33%) of married or partnered adults have difficulty discussing money with their spouse or partner, and a quarter (25%) often have heated discussions with their significant other about money and household finances. Half of women (50%) find it difficult talking with others about personal finances, versus 38% of men.

And one in four (25%) adults would rather pay for a personal trainer than a financial advisor.

—Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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