How much time do you spend stressing out about finances? Would it help to know that you're not alone in your top concerns? It turns out that Americans have a number of pressing financial worries, and here are the ones that top their list, according to a new Charles Schwab study.
1. Saving enough for a comfortable retirement
For 44% of Americans, amassing enough retirement savings is a huge point of concern. Your best bet in that regard, therefore, is to save consistently from an early age and invest your savings wisely. That way, you'll be more likely to meet your goals.
Imagine you're 35 and retirement is 30 years away. If you were to set aside $500 a month during that time and invest your savings heavily in stocks, you'd likely wind up with around $567,000 in your IRA or 401(k). That assumes a 7% average annual return on investment, which is doable with a stock-heavy portfolio, since it's a few percentage points below the market's average.
Now, imagine you decide to hold off on saving for retirement until age 40. Assuming that same $500 a month and 7% average annual return, you'd be looking at an ending balance of about $379,000. In other words, waiting just five years to start saving for retirement could cost you close to $190,000, so rather than spend your energy worrying about having enough money as a senior, rearrange your expenses so you have the opportunity to begin saving sooner rather than later.
2. Stock market volatility
The stock market tends be very reactive. When there's bad news about the economy on the whole, stock values can plummet. And when there's a new, unknown virus making its way across the globe, stock values can downright tank, which was the case back in March.
It's not surprising, then, to learn that 33% of Americans are stressed out about stock market volatility. But one thing you need to remember is that you only lose money in the stock market when you sell investments at a loss. If you leave both your brokerage and retirement savings alone during downturns, you'll give your investments a chance to recover. And unless you're on the cusp of ending your career, you shouldn't be making plans to tap your retirement savings, anyway.
3. Job security
For 25% of Americans, job security is a major worry right now, and understandably so. With unemployment levels reaching record highs and the economy being stuck in a recession, you can't discount the possibility of getting laid off in the near term, especially if the pandemic worsens.
But one thing you can do is build yourself a solid emergency fund while you're still collecting a paycheck. Having money in the bank will help you ride out a period of unemployment if that comes to be. Just as importantly, it could prevent you from having to tap your brokerage or retirement account in a pinch and risk locking in losses in the process.
It's natural to have financial worries during normal times, and during these turbulent times, it's even more so. But rather than get dragged down by your concerns, take steps to get ahead of them. Doing so could bring you the peace of mind you need and deserve.