But some states say taxes, housing, and education are their top money woes

Connecticut has one of the highest tax bills in the country, which is probably why residents there say taxes are their biggest financial stress. But they aren’t the majority.

Almost one-quarter of Americans say debt is their top financial stressor, followed by just a little under 20 percent that feels everyday costs are to blame for their money stress, according to a study from GOBankingRates.com.

While nearly 24 percent of Americans say debt causes them major stress, more than 30 states have this as their top financial stress issue. Healthcare is at 18 percent of Americans; taxes is 13 percent, housing is 11 percent, education is 9 percent, and family is 6 percent.

Healthcare may be 18 percent but in some states, residents stress it is a huge burden on them. In Wisconsin, one-quarter of respondents say this is their top concern. In Vermont, they also voted healthcare at the top. In this state, insurance premiums are some of the most expensive in the country. GOBankingRates says medical debt is the biggest source of debt here, which explains why healthcare is so problematic.

For other states, debt and healthcare take a back burner to taxes. In Rhode Island, the tax bill is higher here than most. In North Dakota, they have the same worry but they actually have a low income tax rate. It’s one of the cheapest states to file taxes.

In New Jersey, everyday costs is the biggest worry among residents. It makes sense, since the cost of living is so high (blame being neighbors with New York). Ohio residents have the same concern, even though the cost of living is super low there. Unfortunately, the median household income is also low, making it hard for people to make ends meet there.

The outlier, Hawaii, seems to have most of their stuff together. Their top concern is education.

“The cost of in-state tuition at a four-year public institution has risen significantly from $3,386 in 2004 to $10,671 in 2016,” GOBankingRates.com says. “College costs in Hawaii are so high that a family would need to earn near six figures to put their kid through school.”

Double down on getting out of debt

If 30 states claim debt to be their biggest financial issue, there are literally millions of Americans who are suffering from it. So what can we do to get out of it?

First, understand what debt is by using this handy glossary of terms. At the same time, review your spending habits and create a budget. Put your most important bills at the top, like mortgage payments, car payments, and utilities. Add your debts like student loans and credit cards. Take out anything massively unnecessary, like dining out, work lunches, afternoon coffee shop visits, and even those thousands of cable channels you never watch. Is it a necessity? Keep it. Is it a luxury? Ditch it. You’ll find out very fast what stays and what goes.

Start to make a debt repayment plan. This goes for any kind of debt you’ve got. Sometimes different debts have different plans, and not all of them are created equal. If you’re getting too overwhelmed, it’s OK to find a professional credit counselor to help you. You can ask as expert if you need help right now.

free debt analysis call 855-654-9191

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


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

Budgeting & Saving, Credit & Debt

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Article last modified on October 9, 2017 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Surprising No One, Debt Is the Biggest Financial Stressor in the Country - AMP.