MacroMonitor Market Trends Newsletter April 2019

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Stress and Money

According to the most recent survey by the American Psychological Association, the number one cause of stress for most Americans today is money, followed by work, health-related concerns, and family responsibilities. Although the MacroMonitor measures many components that contribute to money stress (such as trust in institutions and intermediaries), the perception is that financial services are increasingly complicated. Good decisions require information, expertise, and advice to avoid mistakes. Households need financial information and advice that covers the complete spectrum of financial areas to determine possible trade-offs, whereas advisors tend to specialize. The 2018–19 MacroMonitor measures 11 potential sources of stress, asking respondents to indicate if each is:

  • Not a source of stress
  • A little bit of stress
  • Some stress
  • A lot of stress
  • A significant source of stress.

The following figure shows the number of households (in millions) that pick the top two categories of stress.

Figure 1: Source of Household Stress: A Lot or A Significant Amount of Stress

More households say that money—more than any of the other ten sources—is a lot, or a significant source, of stress. Several other sources of stress—such as work, the economy, and housing costs—have a financial component: More than 20 million households cite each of these sources as well. Interestingly, Personal safety, terrorism, and climate change are a source of a lot, or a significant amount, of stress, for the fewest number of households: 10 million to fewer than 15 million households.

Using the MacroMonitor's nearly 4,000 additional variables, one can profile these populations not only by their demographics and life events, but also by their balance sheets, financial needs, goals, and attitudes to understand them better. For financial institutions and intermediaries that seek to provide more products and services to their customers, understanding the stresses they face can help them be more understanding and even to design more effective ways to market and deliver these services. For more information about households that experience, exhibit, and manifest various stressors, please contact us.

Subscribers have access to this month's Segment Summary: Households That Stress about Money—an analysis of these households with insights into the opportunity for financial-services companies. Subscribers may also request the underlying set of data for this Segment Summary. For more information, contact CFD today.