Majority of Americans have cried over money, study says

Pass along the tissues, because Americans aren’t afraid of letting the tears roll when it comes to finances.

Seven in 10 Americans said they have cried about money in their lifetimes, according to a recent online survey of 1,004 Americans by Compare Many cited worries over their job or making ends meet.

And household debt, which peaked at $13.86 trillion in the second quarter, weighed the heaviest on Americans. Almost a third admitted to crying over this looming concern, according to the survey.

“So many people’s financial margin for error is so slim that an unexpected car repair can be a real hardship,” Matt Schulz said. “Then, if you factor in things like job loss or a medical emergency, that can make things even worse.”

Which debt hurts most?

Credit card debt evoked the second-most tears. One in 5 Americans said credit card debt – which increased $18 trillion since the 2008 – has made them cry.


Student loan debt – which hit a $1.48 trillion in the second quarter – followed, with 13% of Americans naming it as a top stressor.

Students wearing academic regalia attend their graduation ceremony at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), June 14, 2019 in Los Angeles California. - With 45 million borrowers owing $1.5 trillion, the student debt crisis in the United States has exploded in recent years and has become a key electoral issue in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections. "Somebody who graduates from a public university this year is expected to have over $35,000 in student loan debt on average," said Cody Hounanian, program director of Student Debt Crisis, a California NGO that assists students and is fighting for reforms. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Students wearing academic regalia attend their graduation ceremony at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), June 14, 2019 in Los Angeles California. (Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Melanie Lockert, founder of the blog, is familiar with that student loan stress. After graduating with a master’s degree from New York University, she was $81,000 in the hole. Even after she shrunk the debt to $68,000, she still couldn’t look at the remaining huge balance.

“I deleted my [account], because I was completely in denial paying off debt,” said Lockert, who is now debt-free. But “denial always catches up to you.”

Who’s the most emotional?

Younger Americans appear the most vulnerable to financial tears. About half of millennials and half of Gen Zers said they cried at least once in the past month over money.

Gwen Merz, 29, felt the weight of her finances after she moved from the more affordable Midwest to the pricier Washington, DC, metro area. That meant cutting back, especially if she wanted financial independence.

Even the $200,000 she accumulated by age 28 didn’t make her journey stress-free, said Merz, founder of personal finance blog Fiery Millennials and an IT support professional.

Nineteen-year-old Lauren Duvall speaks to Reuters in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., March 28, 2018.  Picture taken March 28, 2018.    REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Nineteen-year-old Lauren Duvall speaks to Reuters in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

“Rent is really high here. My car is getting older,” she said. “I’m always a little worried that the car is going to die and I’ll [need] to get a car loan.”

Controlling your money and emotions

Talking about your money worries with others, whether a significant others or even friends, can help alleviate some of your emotional burden, said Dr. Megan McCoy, a licensed marriage and family therapist and board member for the Financial Therapy Association.

“Find people you can bounce ideas off of, so you don’t feel isolated,” McCoy said. “A lot of people feel they’re the only ones that stress and don’t know what they’re doing.”

Last, but also most important, don’t be too hard on yourself, McCoy said.

“You're not alone with credit card debt and if you’re going to yell at yourself, you’re not going to move forward,” she said. “Forgive yourself and come up with a plan.”

Dhara is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @dsinghx.

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