What America Financially Fears for Friday the 13th

Voting for Donald Trump was probably worth more bad luck than busting a mirror.

To “celebrate” the first Friday the 13th under the scariest president in modern history — and the last time it’ll happen near Halloween until 2023 — I wanted to take a look at Americans’ greatest financial fears. And how Trump has made them bigger than ever.

Last year, Northwestern Mutual released a big study that covered a ton of stuff from millennial attitudes to the costs of living single, but also Americans’ financial anxiety. Those fears are spelled out in this graphic, and below that I’ll talk about specific ways Trump is siding with the horrors.

Financial fears infographic

Indifferent to identity theft

While it’s a ways down the list, 16 percent of Americans are concerned about identity theft, and 6 percent worry about falling prey to a financial scam, which would likely stem from identity theft. That’s a very timely concern, given the recent massive data breach of the credit bureau Equifax, which affects almost half of Americans.

I’ve written about Trump’s attitudes and policy initiatives on identity theft before — which is to say I’ve written about how he doesn’t care.

As far as I can tell, he’s made no public statements about the Equifax breach, but taken time to get upset about plenty of trivialities on Twitter and has challenged one of his cabinet members to an IQ test.

While the White House declared October National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it doesn’t seem to be launching any actual initiatives or spending any money or even promoting the fact anywhere but in a press release.

Meanwhile, we still don’t have the plan on “cyber” Trump promised we’d have within his first hundred days. Instead, Trump has demonstrated he doesn’t care about consumer privacy by gutting FCC regulations that forced companies to notify authorities and warn consumers when they were potential victims of identity theft. He offered no explanation why.

We really shouldn’t be surprised, though, considering Trump’s own hotel chain covered up credit card theft last year and did nothing to fix the problem — so it happened a second time.

Making retirement harder

A lot of these fears are about having or keeping a job — 17 percent fear losing a job and 15 percent fear extended unemployment — and I’ve said plenty about Trump’s jobs record. Spoiler: It’s worse than Obama’s. Last month we had the first decline in employment for the last seven years, a net loss of 33,000 jobs and Trump didn’t take ownership of that one. (And he shouldn’t, but since he takes credit he doesn’t deserve, turnabout is fair play…)

So that’s jobs, the main way people get money for living their life. Actually saving it for later, however, is a whole separate issue people worry much more about and one Trump also sucks on. A third of Americans fear not having enough money to retire and 21 percent fear outliving their retirement savings.

Three years ago, President Obama launched a retirement program to help the average person get started without knowing a lick about IRAs, 401(k)s, or financial planning. It was called the MyRA, you could start with as little as $25, and we wrote about how great it was. I called it training wheels for retirement saving.

Trump, of course, killed it this summer — as he does with anything he can that has Obama’s name on it. In fairness, only 30,000 people were using it, and an argument can be made it wasn’t cost-effective. But they contributed $34 million to their retirement savings, so it was obviously worth it for those people. And it’s not like Trump has any initiatives of his own to help people out.

Still trying to kill Obamacare

Everybody knows this one. A third of Americans fear unplanned medical expenses and 18 percent fear their inability to afford healthcare.

Trump promised to replace Obamacare with “something teriffic,” and although he still hasn’t articulated any vision for what that would look like, he’s repeatedly complained about Congress’ inability to pass a repeal bill with or without something to replace it.

And now that Congress has finally, finally given up the ghost on that effort, Trump has designed to just wreck Obamacare as much as he can on his own. While he doesn’t have a Health Secretary, because the guy he picked spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to go visit friends and family and ultimately resigned.

He’s cut federal funding for advertising the Obamacare marketplaces, and the executive order he just signed will remove restrictions on people and small businesses from buying lousier, skimpier health insurance plans. (Which are of course cheaper.) This will make it cheaper to “opt out” of Obamacare, and probably raise premiums for everyone else in the long run.

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Article last modified on December 12, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: How Donald Trump Has Worsened Our Greatest Financial Fears - AMP.

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Article last modified on December 12, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .