Pass along the tissues, because Americans aren’t afraid of letting the tears roll when it comes to finances.
Seven in 10 Americans said they have cried about money in their lifetimes, according to a recent online survey of 1,004 Americans by Compare Cards.com. Many cited worries over their job or making ends meet.
And household debt, which peaked at $13.86 trillion in the second quarter, weighed the heaviest on Americans. Almost a third admitted to crying over this looming concern, according to the survey.
“So many people’s financial margin for error is so slim that an unexpected car repair can be a real hardship,” Matt Schulz said. “Then, if you factor in things like job loss or a medical emergency, that can make things even worse.”
Which debt hurts most?
Credit card debt evoked the second-most tears. One in 5 Americans said credit card debt – which increased $18 trillion since the 2008 – has made them cry.
Student loan debt – which hit a $1.48 trillion in the second quarter – followed, with 13% of Americans naming it as a top stressor.
Melanie Lockert, founder of the blog deardebt.com, is familiar with that student loan stress. After graduating with a master’s degree from New York University, she was $81,000 in the hole. Even after she shrunk the debt to $68,000, she still couldn’t look at the remaining huge balance.
“I deleted my Mint.com [account], because I was completely in denial paying off debt,” said Lockert, who is now debt-free. But “denial always catches up to you.”
Who’s the most emotional?
Younger Americans appear the most vulnerable to financial tears. About half of millennials and half of Gen Zers said they cried at least once in the past month over money.
Gwen Merz, 29, felt the weight of her finances after she moved from the more affordable Midwest to the pricier Washington, DC, metro area. That meant cutting back, especially if she wanted financial independence.
Even the $200,000 she accumulated by age 28 didn’t make her journey stress-free, said Merz, founder of personal finance blog Fiery Millennials and an IT support professional.
“Rent is really high here. My car is getting older,” she said. “I’m always a little worried that the car is going to die and I’ll [need] to get a car loan.”
Controlling your money and emotions
Talking about your money worries with others, whether a significant others or even friends, can help alleviate some of your emotional burden, said Dr. Megan McCoy, a licensed marriage and family therapist and board member for the Financial Therapy Association.
“Find people you can bounce ideas off of, so you don’t feel isolated,” McCoy said. “A lot of people feel they’re the only ones that stress and don’t know what they’re doing.”
Last, but also most important, don’t be too hard on yourself, McCoy said.
“You're not alone with credit card debt and if you’re going to yell at yourself, you’re not going to move forward,” she said. “Forgive yourself and come up with a plan.”
Dhara is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @dsinghx.