KEY POINTS

  • 50% of people earning below $15,000 and 49% in $15,000-$25,000 bracket flagged financial stress
  • 32% of workers complained of regularly running out of money leading to financial stress
  • 30% of workers forego annual vacations for up to five years to get out of debt

Financial stress is the biggest source of worry for most Americans, a survey says. It's even more than the stress of relationships, career, and health at all income levels, according to a report of Salary Finance, a financial services company.

Almost a third of Americans run out of money before their payday, said the survey report “Inside the Wallets of Working Americans.”

The report said that 42% of American workers cutting across income levels thought that their financial stress was worse than what they felt in relationships, career, and health, a report on Fox Business website said citing the survey.

People at the lowest income levels reported experiencing the most stress. About 50% of people earning less than $15,000 and 49% of those who responded making between $15,000 and $25,000 said financial stress was the worst worry for them.

Running out of money

Interestingly, at 47% the third-highest percentage of people who experience financial stress are people earning between $130,000 and $200,000, according to the report.

A sizeable 32% of workers complained of regularly running out of money before payday leading to financial stress and in some cases debt. People of all income levels face the problem although their percentage varies, the survey reports.

About 40% of people making less than $25,000 annually almost regularly run out of money before the salary day. Surprisingly, 32% of people getting more than $200,000 also reported running out of money before they payday, according to the survey.

High rates of interest

The respondents to the survey said they either took out 401(k) loans or payday loans or used a credit card to meet their financial requirements.

About 46% of workers who carry over their credit card balance have upwards of $3,000 on their cards. This, naturally, leads to further financial risk as the interest rate for most U.S. credit cards is above 20%.

Apart from the rising debt problem, a significant number of the employed face the stress of having to forego some of their usual perks. Salary Finance also found that 30% of workers would choose to skip vacations for five whole years to get out of their debt. The survey was conducted among 2,729 Americans employed at large companies from Nov. 6 to Dec. 17 last year. It also throws light on the savings habits of Americans.

personal finance A "Price Reduced" sign is displayed on a home for sale in northern Virginia suburb of Vienna, outside Washington, on Oct. 27, 2010. For most working Americans financial stress is worse than that caused by worries about health, career, and relationships. Photo: REUTERS