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Understanding Financial Stress & Your Future / By: Tara Mirkov

Psychological distress caused by trouble meeting financial commitments is something a lot of people experience. According to a survey from Forbes Advisor, “54% of U.S. adults with debt say they always or often feel stressed because of their debt” (Horton, 2023).

Beyond debt, there are various reasons financial stress can occur. Bills, unemployment, groceries, and even just worrying about the future can take a toll on an individual. Young people tend to have higher rates of financial stress. According to a survey from Bankrate, millennials and Gen Zers worry more than 10% more (on average) than Gen Xers and Boomers. In general, financial stress is up significantly from a year ago (Gailey, 2023).

Perhaps this imbalance is due to the growing price of education. Low-income high school senior Liliana Rodriguez is concerned about the hunt for scholarship and grant money for college. “Not qualifying could mean that I will have to settle for a college experience that is less than what I want for myself.” Financing college in today's world takes a toll on Millennials and Gen Z’ers alike.

Whatever the case may be, it's important to remember that no one is alone in their stress and there are resources out there to help, from counseling to financial management aid. Bridget Nelson, a Chicago AP Psychology teacher, says that “school counselors are aware of a TON of outside agencies and resources that offer a variety of support to students to meet whatever need they are having (mental health, financial need, etc).”  At some schools, there are also licensed clinical social workers or a school psychologist who can offer help to students when needed. Financial awareness courses are also becoming more common in schools. Teaching kids about money management at a young age is an excellent preventative measure for financial hardship and the stress that comes with it. Education is always a great first step.

Unfortunately, so many people live with the burden of financial stress. Statistics show that rates across the country are growing and it's our young people who suffer the most. However, with proper educational infrastructure and the right resources, the problem can be diminished.

“54% of U.S. adults with debt say they always or often feel stressed because of their debt.” (The Silent Strain: How Debt Takes A Toll On Mental Health)

"Younger generations are more likely to say they’re stressing about money more often. More than 3 in 10 millennials (38 percent) and Gen Zers (32 percent) who believe money has a negative impact on their mental health say they worry about money daily, compared to 26 percent of Gen Xers and 22 percent of baby boomers." (More than half of Americans say money negatively impacts their mental health, up sharply from a year ago)

Interviewees: Liliana Roriguez (local senior), Bridget Nelson (local AP Psychology teacher)


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