Consumer spending

Survey: Financial discussions more difficult than religious, political talks

Money TalkA recent survey released by Wells Fargo revealed that Americans consider discussing personal finances to be as difficult as discussing controversial topics such as religion and politics.

According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans said personal finances is the most difficult topic to discuss with others, compared to 38 percent for death, 35 percent for politics, 32 percent for religion, 21 percent for taxes and 20 percent for personal health.

The Wells Fargo Financial Health study, which is conducted by Market Probe, polled 1,004 adults between the ages of 25 and 75 to uncover Americans’ perceptions of their own financial health.

“It’s not surprising people don’t want to talk about money, investments, tax strategies, or even how much to put aside for a child’s education,” Karen Wimbish, the director of retail retirement at Wells Fargo, said. “But not spending time today to think about the future can be costly in the long-run. I think of personal finance in the same vein as my health—I wouldn’t keep concerns about my physical health private. I’d consult a doctor or talk to a friend or family member about it.”

While many find it easier to discuss more controversial topics such as politics and religion versus money, approximately 40 percent reported that money is the biggest stressor in their life. The same percentage of people indicated that they are more stressed about finances compared to one year ago, and one-third of Americans reported losing sleep worrying about their finances.

In terms of saving money, 35 percent of Americans said the hardest part is “knowing the best approach,” and the same percentage reported “sticking to a plan” as the most difficult aspect of saving. Just nine percent of respondents said motivation was the most substantial barrier to improving their financial health.

Additionally, most Americans reported feeling financially healthy when addressing basic needs, while two-thirds reported feeling in financially good or great shape by being able to pay monthly bills. Only 40 percent, however, indicated they feel financially good or great about their amount of discretionary spending and emergency fund savings.

The study also uncovered gender differences when it comes to discussing finances. While 50 percent of women said they find it difficult to discuss money, only 38 percent of men expressed difficulty in doing so. Approximately half of women polled graded their financial literacy as a “C” or below, while 65 percent of men rated their money-savviness at a grade of “B” or higher.

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