A national survey by CreditCards.com found that 38% of people reported losing sleep because of their finances.
Specifically, health care and insurance costs are keeping all those people awake at night, compared to a 29% in a similar 2016 survey.
The 2017 survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted via telephone, and has been reportedly been done five times since 2007. With 1 in 3 American adults already being sleep-deprived as of 2016, the survey made it clear that money is on the brain during some sleepless episodes, saying, “financial insomnia is at its highest level since the Great Recession.”
The reason: health care reform.
“Health care hasn’t been such a big source of insomnia since 2009 (35 percent), when newly inaugurated President Barack Obama rolled out his landmark health care reform bill. The recent debate in Washington about overhauling the health care system again likely exacerbated a financial worry that bugs consumers even in times of political calm,” the company said.
James Chessen, chief economist at the American Bankers Association, said in a statement that health care costs are one of the major financial burdens people have trouble keeping up with.
“Health care costs are one of the three major drivers of delinquencies in consumer credit…I think it’s always a concern. For individuals who are living paycheck to paycheck, that’s one cough or accident away from creating a financial problem,” Chessen said in a statement.
Even with health care on people’s minds, other costs are also taking a physical toll on them.
Why you should put your health before your bills
We all know that getting enough sleep should be a priority because deprivation can cause health problems.
A Harvard Healthy Sleep article highlighted the connections between “sleep and disease risk,” providing explanations about “obesity,” “diabetes,” “heart disease and hypertension,” “mood disorders,” “immune function” and more.
But the article also made a more morbid point clear: “Data from three large cross-sectional epidemiological studies reveal that sleeping five hours or less per night increased mortality risk from all causes by roughly 15 percent.”
What financial worries are causing insomnia
The 2017 survey found that the amount of people dealing with this “is trending toward levels not seen since the Great Recession,” saying that 65% reported staying up worrying about money at night, compared to 69% in 2009. The entire era since the Great Recession has seen a huge spike in financial anxiety; as proof, in 2007, 56% of people were struggling with financial sleeplessness.
Here are the other reasons for respondents’ financial insomnia, in descending order, as presented in the write-up.
Thirty-seven percent of people reported that “retirement savings” were keeping them up, compared to 39% in 2016. Thirty-four percent reported that the culprit was “student loans,” compared to 30% in 2016.
“About 1 in 4” people said that “the monthly mortgage or rent payment” caused their insomnia. Lastly, “credit card debt” was at the bottom of the pile, at 22% this year.
So what did the people staying up over money do about it? Sixty-four percent said they cut back on costs in the last 12 months.
Geographic mobility has slowed down
The trouble with money concerns is that they rarely have quick or easy answers. It’s not always easy to uproot your life and relocate for a new higher-paying job, and millennials aren’t job-hopping as frequently as some think.
An article on “the role that demographic shifts—in particular, the nation’s aging population—have played in the recent decline in interstate migration” by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York sheds light on just how many people have stopped moving across state lines.
“About 3% of the working-age population—defined as people from ages 25 to 59—moved to a different state in a given year during the 1980s…. Starting in the 1990s, this rate declined steadily, falling below 1.5% by 2010,” the authors write, attributing the change to the “business cycle.”
People are losing sleep over money and moving less for a variety of reasons.