Personal financial planning

July 1, 2013

Problems created by financial stress aren’t limited to people’s pocketbooks. A new survey found that money-related stress is also taking a toll on Americans’ waistlines, friendships, and sleep habits.

The telephone survey, conducted March 14–17, asked 1,011 U.S. adults to name all the ways financial stress is affecting their lives. Of those who rate their financial stress “very” or “somewhat high,” almost half, or 47%, said they are sleeping less. Another 43% said they have less patience with friends or are seeing them less often, while 31% are eating more junk food or gaining weight.

The survey also found that about one-fifth of respondents (21%) who rate their financial stress as at least “somewhat high” are arguing more with their spouse or significant other. And about one-sixth (17%) said they are getting sick more often, according to the survey results.

Harris Interactive conducted the survey for the AICPA in recognition of National Financial Capability Month, which is observed in April.

While the economy has improved since the darkest days of the Great Recession, an increase in payroll taxes that kicked in at the start of the year intensified financial concerns for many Americans. The increase effectively cut take-home pay for most workers by 2% and prompted more than two-thirds (68%) of those employed to cut spending, reduce savings, or make other sacrifices, according to a news release about the survey that was issued by the AICPA.

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