Survey: Many Americans Unprepared for Crises

Divorce, widowhood, and other events often cause financial disasters.

By SHARE

A new survey from AARP Financial contains enough motivation for anyone to start preparing for worst case scenarios, including divorce, death of a spouse, and illness of a child. Depressing stuff, but also worth thinking about, since avoiding the topic leads to financial catastrophe on top of the emotional crisis. (As I recently reported, most people have much too little life insurance.)

Here are a few facts from the survey, which interviewed 1,200 adults between the ages of 40 and 79. (For more details, see my colleague Emily Brandon's description.)

Question: How much of an impact did long-term job loss (experienced by 18 percent of respondents) have on the following areas of your life?

Finances, 89 percent

Physical health, 52 percent

Emotional well-being, 80 percent

Relationships with family and friends, 48 percent

Question: How much of an impact did divorce (experienced by 29 percent of respondents) have on the following areas of your life?

Finances, 67 percent

Physical health, 31 percent

Emotional well-being, 72 percent

Relationships with family and friends, 43 percent

Question: How much of an impact did the death of a spouse or life partner (experienced by 10 percent of respondents) have on the following areas of your life?

Finances, 63 percent

Physical health, 48 percent

Emotional well-being, 90 percent

Relationships with family and friends, 59 percent

Question: How much of an impact did the serious illness or disability of your child (experienced by 7 percent of respondents) have on the following areas of your life?

Finances, 75 percent

Physical health, 59 percent

Emotional well-being, 93 percent

Relationships with family and friends, 65 percent