Death or Taxes: Which Worries You More?

Why many people fear money troubles more than their own mortality

So what is it that really scares you? Snakes? Jumping out of a plane? That recurring nightmare where you’re giving a big presentation and realize you forgot to put your pants on?

Well, if you’re anything like the majority of Americans, there’s something that spooks you way more: money—or the lack thereof, more specifically.

According to a new survey from, 66% of Americans point to a money-related trouble when asked to name their greatest fear. In fact, finances weigh so heavily on people’s minds that the fear of living paycheck to paycheck, falling into debt and becoming homeless all ranked higher than the fears of being a victim of a crime, creepy crawlies—and dying.

“Money is one of the biggest sources of fear there is, because it affects everything from our basic wants and needs to our social status, professional success and psychological well-being,” GOBankingRates Editor Christina Lavingia told the San Francisco Business Times.

The study also unearthed some interesting findings about fears by age group. The fear of unemployment was most common among respondents 18 to 24, while those age 45 and older were fearful of never being able to get out of debt. Meanwhile, the most dreaded financial chore in general was paying the bills, followed by asking people to pay back money owed.

One in three respondents also admitted to worrying about money “all the time.”

While money woes are (clearly) common, remember that there are ways you can help alleviate your fears and regain control. Check out these thinking traps to avoid if you’re stressed about money.


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Tags: money