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The U.S. has been experiencing a lot of economic turmoil in the past 12 months. Interest rates are up, inflation is rising, and companies are cutting costs by laying workers off. Given all Americans are dealing with, it’s no surprise that personal finances are top of mind for them. As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a new study from Point looks at how fear around personal finances impacts Americans’ mental health.
Concerns over personal finances weigh heavy across every generation and gender. More than half (55.1 percent) of people said worries about personal finances had negatively impacted their mental health, compared to less than one-third who cited climate change, social issues, or geopolitical issues. And well over one-third (36.5 percent) said the issue was causing them to lose sleep.
With a reputation for caring and activism, Gen Z says their worries about personal finances eclipse those about other issues. While they are the generation that says social issues impact their mental health the most (47.4 percent said “a great deal” or “quite a bit”), even more (64.7 percent) cited personal finance as having an impact on their mental health.
Women1, overall, carry a bigger burden when it comes to stress about personal finances than men2. Nearly 60 percent of women said personal finances impact their mental health “a great deal” or “quite a bit,” compared with about 45 percent of men.
In many ways, how people across generations and genders respond to financial stress is similar — everyone cuts down on nonessential expenses and tries to exercise more — but when it comes to improving finances, Gen Z offers unique approaches. They’re more likely than other generations to get a side hustle, with 37.7 percent saying they’ve done that, or seeking financial advice on TikTok (15.8 percent).
1. defined here as people who answered “female” when asked about gender
2. people who answered “male” when asked about gender
Percent of each generation that said the below issues impact their mental health “a great deal” or “quite a bit.”
Percent of each gender that said the below issues impact their mental health “a great deal” or “quite a bit.”
While concern about personal finances may hit the generations differently, it’s interesting that the three working, measurable generations (Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials) follow the same path to building wealth — one is not better off than another, comparatively.