Older Americans Worry Least About Money

Financial worries peak with 40-somethings and then drop off into old age


One might think that retirees and baby boomers rapidly approaching retirement age might worry about money more than younger people. Retirees whose nest eggs lost value have no added income to help recoup their losses. And baby boomers who originally planned to retire soon will have little choice but to work during the traditional retirement years, if they can manage find or keep their job.

But a recent Gallup Poll analysis found that older Americans are actually the least worried about money. The portion of Americans with financial worries climbs from 39 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds currently fretting about money to a peak of 46 percent among those age 40 to 49. Apprehension about personal finances then begins to drop off at age 50 and continues to fall thereafter. Only 17 percent of those aged 70 to 89 report having money worries.

Gallup asked 11,361 adults, “Did you worry about money yesterday?” They responded:

Age                Percent worried about money

18-29            39

30-39            44

40-49            46

50-59            41

60-69            29

70-89            17

Source: Gallup Poll, February 2009

Being employed and having an income of at least $60,000 annually are both associated with lower levels of financial concern. But older Americans worry less about money despite the fact that seniors generally have lower average incomes and lower employment levels. Both genders also experience diminished financial worries as they age, but women are slightly more likely than men to worry at almost all age levels, including old age.

Gallup also found that money worries are higher during the week and lower on weekends.

Tell us, have your money worries followed this pattern?