Survey: Money Stress Taints Holidays for Majority of U.S. Workers

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Budgetary anxiety afflicts nearly two-thirds of workers this time of year, but the good news is that they are working on beating the holiday-spending blues.

For many Americans, the festivity and joy of the holiday season can be overshadowed by stress, specifically financial stress.

Nearly two-thirds of American workers say holiday spending puts some degree of stress on their personal finances, according to The Principal Financial Well-Being Index for employees, which is based on a Harris Poll of more than 1,100 American workers.

Overall, holiday spending causes less stress for men than women, with 40 percent of men reporting that the holidays put no stress on their financial situation, compared with 30 percent of women. More men (46 percent) than women (32 percent) also say they’re happy with their overall financial situation.

In an effort to combat the potential financial stress of the holiday season, more than half of the workers said they set a budget for holiday gifts. But establishing a budget and sticking to it are not the same.

Many workers reported blowing their budget this year on dining out (24 percent), food/groceries (19 percent), entertainment (15 percent) and other consumer goods (15 percent).

“It’s not surprising to see that American workers continue to blow their budget dining out,” Kevin Morris, vice president of retirement and income solutions at the Principal Financial Group, said in a statement. “It’s easy to spend $30 here and $40 there on a meal and not think twice about it. But what if they put that money toward something more long term, like retirement? Or building up their savings? Over time, those pizza deliveries and nights on the town add up and can make a huge difference in your budget.”

The survey of American workers did turn up some positive news: 4 in 5 workers plan to use cash, debit cards or credit cards (that they plan to pay off) to purchase holiday gifts. Plus, American workers said their top New Year’s resolution is to sock away some money into a savings account each month.

How do you manage holiday stress? What stresses you out the most? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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