New research shows we may have the wrong priorities when it comes to stress. But is that really a bad thing?
Planning a vacation is super stressful to most Americans. In fact, 89 percent of us are “plagued” by the process of organizing time to have fun not doing work, according to new study.
MasterCard asked more than 1,000 adults about vacations and found we’re most stressed about:
- Coordinating travel (57 percent)
- Picking a location (50 percent)
- Planning an itinerary (49 percent)
- Finding a place to stay (44 percent)
It also found women (74 percent) are slightly more likely than men (67 percent) to find planning a vacation stressful. But you know what it completely neglected to mention? Money — probably the reason you need a vacation.
Financial wellness and loan company FinFit surveyed 250 business owners and executives, and 71 percent of them said more of their employees are living paycheck-to-paycheck than were last year. Almost all of them said financial stress was causing absenteeism, lower productivity, and greater distraction.
Of course, there’s better evidence of the paycheck-to-paycheck problem than what bosses think is happening. There’s also a new study of more than 4,500 Americans — not young minimum-wage workers, but people ages 35-65 with household incomes of $50,000 or more — by investment and insurance company Allianz. Nearly half of them said they were living paycheck to paycheck. Other findings:
- A quarter said they aren’t saving at all, and nearly a third said they’ve got too many expenses or debts to even think about the future
- More than half said covering current expenses takes priority over saving for the future
- 57 percent said they are “making ends meet,” struggling financially,” or “poor”
And it’s worth mentioning just one more study, this one entirely about financial stress, from Financial Finesse. (That’s another financial wellness company.) Its results are based on responses from more than 500 client organizations’ employees, and they show we’re more stressed about money than we were last year…
- Stress shot up, with 23 percent citing “high” or “overwhelming” stress, compared to 18 percent in 2012
- 42 percent say the top cause of financial stress is not being sure they can meet financial goals, up from 35 percent in 2012
- Women are more likely to be financially stressed than men (27 percent to 17 percent)
- Adults under 30 are more likely to be stressed than those 55 and older (25 percent to 14 percent)
- Shocker: People making less than $60,000 are more likely to be stressed than those making over $100,000 (37 percent to 14 percent)
- Those with minor children are more likely to be stressed than those without (29 percent to 19 percent)
On the bright side, a majority of people people said they spend less than they make, have an emergency fund, pay their bills on time, and regularly pay their credit card in full — all steps that should reduce future financial stress.
And stress isn’t all bad. “They’ve stepped on the financial scale, so to speak, and are going ‘Wow, this is worse than I thought!’ This is a good thing,” according to Financial Finesse CEO Liz Davidson, “because they’re taking action to address their vulnerabilities through factors they themselves can control.”
Speaking of things in your control, better get back to vacation planning.