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American adults’ biggest financial worry is the inability to pay the medical costs in the event of a serious illness or accident, reports Gallup in new survey data. A majority (54%) of the more than 1,000 US adults surveyed said they’re either very (30%) or moderately (24%) worried about this.

That does represent an ease in anxiety after a couple of consecutive years of rising worry about emergency medical bills, with 60% last year concerned about the possibility.

Worth noting is that 28% of Americans would worry even about an unexpected expense of $10, per a new report from Bloomberg Ventures and New America. More than 8 in 10 said that $1,000 or less would be the biggest unexpected expense that they could handle without worrying about it.

Meanwhile, retirement concerns are also a source of financial anxiety for a majority of Americans: 54% of the Gallup survey respondents are either very (26%) or moderately (28%) concerned about now having enough money for retirement. Near-retirees have very different views about how much money will be needed for retirement, though.

Other financial concerns include:

  • Not being able to pay medical costs for normal healthcare (45%);
  • Not being able to maintain the enjoyed standard of living (40%);
  • Not having enough money to pay for children’s college (35%);
  • Not having enough to pay normal monthly bills (31%);
  • Not being able to pay rent, mortgage or other housing costs (26%); and
  • Not being able to make minimum payments on credit cards (17%).

On a positive note, fewer Americans are worried about each of these this year than last.

The biggest declines were for maintaining current standards of living and being able to pay bills (including rent or mortgage). Anxiety surrounding these maintenance-related items is at its lowest point in a decade, per the study.

In other results:

  • Democrats are more worried than Republicans across each of the concerns tracked;
  • Lower-income Americans have more financial concerns than middle- and upper-income respondents; and
  • While concerns have eased for middle- and upper-income Americans, they have largely remained intact for lower-income respondents.

About the Data: Gallup conducts research about Americans’ financial worries in April each year. This latest data is based on a survey of 1,019 US adults conducted from April 5-9.

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