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Taking on debt leads to more stress, weight gain

If you thought your health problems were just because you haven’t gotten up and moved around in awhile, look at your bank account to re-evaluate your thinking.

Fidelity says big money woes can have major impacts on your overall health. The more debt you have, the more likely you are to have higher stress levels, more weight gain, and increased sleep loss.

While Americans overall are experiencing this, the harmful effects hit women much harder than men.

“Nearly 70 percent of women indicated taking on debt led to higher stress levels, compared to 47 percent of men,” the survey says. “Thirty-six percent of women sleep worse (21 percent of men), 34 percent of women gained weight (17 percent of men) and 29 percent of women were less active (12 percent of men).”

The good news is that paying off debt helps lessen stress in both women and men. The survey says 59 percent of women and 50 percent of men were happier after paying off debt.

Still stressing, still not saving

Regardless of which money woe is hurting you, most Americans are stressed about finances in some form. But money is just not our biggest priority (it’s actually, like, third) and that hurts us in the long run.

Not having enough money is definitely a concern among Americans, but we don’t tackle it in a straightforward way. Many millennials are so busy trying to pay off student loans that they are forgoing buying homes, and are worried about how they will be able to save for their own retirements in the future.

With stagnant salaries, disappearing pensions, and companies that are no longer offering as many benefits, workers are having trouble putting any extra income toward a comfortable long-term financial cushion. 401(k)s aren’t being contributed to as much and employees are wishing their companies would give them the financial guidance they need to get on the right track when it comes to staying organized with their money.

While the Fidelity survey says credit and debt are major stress contributors, retirement is still a major reason why so many Americans are stressed about money. Nearly half of all Americans don’t think they will hit their retirement goals by the time they hit retirement age. And almost half of Americans aged 62 and up admit that income is a major factor in their depression and loneliness in old age.

So where did their money go? Aside from a mortgage, credit card debt and possibly paying for a child’s college education, many older Americans are financially supporting others ahead of themselves.

The Fidelity survey says boomerang kids — grown kids who return home to live with their parents — is a major stress on parents. Sixty-eight percent of parents say they are more stressed with their kids living at home and 76 percent say they are experiencing higher expenses because of it. As parents are financially supporting their grown kids on top of their other expenses, they are limiting how much they can contribute to their own retirements and also how much debt they can pay off.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Credit & Debt, Retirement

401k, health, income, save money

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