A new poll shows financial fears are pure nightmare fuel.

Move over ghouls, goblins, and ghosts. Americans say rising prices are the real monsters hiding in their closets.

Personal finance site WalletHub conducted a weird little online poll asking “What’s the scariest thing about this Halloween?” Most respondents replied “inflation.”

“Perhaps the scariest thing about inflation compared to traditional sources of Halloween fright is the fact that it won’t just go back to normal in a day,” says WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe. “Our current issues with inflation clearly aren’t transient.”

Debt.com first covered Americans’ fear of inflation more than two years ago. It’s been a long, bumpy ride, as scary as some of the most frightening roller coaster rides. Who can blame the 9 in 10 survey respondents who told WalletHub they’re “fearful of this economy”?

The horror! The horror!

For the second year in a row, WalletHub’s “Halloween Spending & Financial Fears” survey found more than 1 in 3 Americans say “their finances are a horror show”.

The average credit card debt in this country is nearing $8,000, according to the latest data from Census and the Fed. But credit card debt isn’t the whole picture. When you factor in car loans, mortgages, and student loans the average debt totals more than $95,000.

“Most people don’t have much in savings, debt levels are rising, prices are inflated, the stock market has been turbulent, and the short-term economic outlook is gloomy,” says WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “That’s a recipe for horror right there.”

It’s enough to keep you up at night

Do you sleep with one eye fixed on your latest credit card statement? You’re not alone. Nearly half of Americans say they have nightmares about money problems.

Their nightmares come from the fear they experience while awake. These are the two biggest “financial fears” cited in the poll:

  • Not having enough retirement savings.
  • And an unplanned financial emergency.

Those outweigh losing a job and health insurance – even being a victim of fraud. It’s easy to see why when you piece together a bigger data puzzle.

More than 1 in 5 Americans report having “no emergency savings,” according to a poll from personal finance site Bankrate. That’s the second-lowest percentage in its 13 years conducting an “annual emergency savings report.”

Last July, Debt.com published the headline “Financial Professionals and Their Clients Fear for Retirement Savings.”  A nonprofit organization called Alliance for Lifetime Income polled more than 2,000 Americans close to retirement and 514 financial advisors helping them plan for it.

A scary number of respondents felt rising inflation would crush their dreams of retirement:

  • Financial advisors: 92%
  • Their clients: 81%

The most recent Federal Reserve data shows the average American has $65,000 in retirement savings. That’s terrifying considering most experts recommend having $1.5 million to comfortably retire.

“Considering how little most people have saved, how much debt we owe and the extent to which inflation has made both factors worse, it makes sense that not having the cash to make ends meet is keeping people up at night,” Happe says. “Add concerns about the long-term viability of Social Security to the mix, and it’s clear why some people are reaching for melatonin.”

Melatonin may treat the symptom, but Debt.com has the cure for sleepless nights. Call (833) 265-7939 for a free debt analysis with a certified counselor. It’s the first step to rid your dark spirits.

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About the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Joe Pye is the managing editor of Debt.com and an AFC® Accredited Financial Counselor, by the AFCPE. Pye began writing about debt and personal finance while attending Florida Atlantic University, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the student-run newspaper and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism. In his spare time, he runs BrowardBeer.com, South Florida’s only journalistic (and journalism award-winning) craft beer blog. Pye’s work has been featured on MSN, Mediafeed, Miami New Times, Fort Lauderdale Illustrated, and Aventura Magazine.

Published by Debt.com, LLC