Money Stress Affecting Waistlines

April 30, 2013 ( - Money stress is affecting more than Americans’ wallets, according to a survey.

Of the 1,011 U.S. adults surveyed on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) who rate their financial stress as “very” or “somewhat high,” nearly half (47%) said they are sleeping less, 43% said they have less patience with friends or are seeing them less often and 31% are eating more junk food or gaining weight. One-fifth (21%) indicated they are arguing more with their spouse or significant other, and one in six (17%) are getting sick more often.   

An increase in payroll taxes that took effect in January intensified financial concerns for many Americans, effectively cutting the take-home pay for most workers by 2% and prompting more than two-thirds of those employed (68%) to cut spending, reduce savings or make other sacrifices. The survey found 44% of U.S. adults currently register a high level of financial stress—with women almost twice as likely as men to say it is “very high.” Only 28% of adults see a reduction in financial stress over the next six months.  

“Mounting money pressures are making Americans cranky, tired and unhealthy,” said Ernie Almonte, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “This can lead to a double whammy, with ensuing physical and emotional stress potentially leading to higher long-term costs. Americans must find ways to cope with money stress even when financial challenges seem daunting.”