Study Finds That Americans Are More Afraid Of Running Of Out Money Than Death

$100 dollar bill with a clock on it, illustrating that time is money.
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You’ve heard it before – the only sure things in life are death and taxes.

But a new study found a fear that even Ben Franklin probably never considered. It’s not the grim reaper or the taxman that’s giving them sleepless nights, but something surprisingly mundane yet super important to our day-to-day existence in society – running out of money.

Yes, you heard it right. The fear of an empty wallet has now overtaken our age-old dread of meeting our maker. In today’s rollercoaster economy, the bank balance is scarier than the balance of life and death itself.

According to a recent poll of 1000 Americans by the Allianz Life Insurance Company, 61% said they were more afraid of running out of money than they were of death itself.

Because when you’re dead, you’re dead.

But when you don’t have any money? Well… You have problems.

Sometimes, big problems

Major concerns over retirement savings

One of the major findings of the Allianz poll is how many Americans are concerned that increasing costs of basic expenses – like housing, food, fuel, and healthcare – are impacting their long-term retirement goals. 

49% say that escalating day-to-day costs threaten their ability to afford basic expenses. Some 40% of Americans admit their retirement strategy is off-track, while 56% now consider “financial crises” as a permanent part of their retirement planning.

That’s not exactly a cheerful outlook on the future.

The Allianz poll had some surprising findings about financial planning and retirement savings. Turns out many are treating their financial plans for the future with a nonchalant shrug.

40% of respondents reveal they have no concrete financial plan for retirement, choosing instead to cross that bridge when they come to it. This laissez-faire attitude extends further, with 56% expressing confusion on where to start planning beyond maintaining basic retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA.

The lack of solid planning is underlined by the fact that only 42% possess a written financial plan. This indicates a significant gap in strategic financial preparedness, leaving many potentially exposed to unexpected economic shifts and shocks.

Different generational attitudes towards retirement savings

On the other hand, The Allianz poll did find some optimism (or even… overconfidence?) between different generations.

A considerable 70% of baby boomers perceive their financial standing as superior to that of their parents at the same age. This sentiment is echoed by 55% of Gen Xers and 61% of millennials. A similar pattern emerges regarding retirement preparedness, with 66% of boomers, 54% of Gen Xers, and 60% of millennials feeling more financially prepared for retirement than their parents were.

However, not all generational comparisons were rosy. A significant proportion of millennials (63%) and Gen Xers (47%) concede it’s taking them longer to hit milestones like homeownership, compared to their parents. Makes sense, considering how another recent study found that 72% of renters feel like they’ll never be able to own a home and how many have elected to live at home with parents in the last 10 years

Generational concerns over careers and healthcare

Allianz poll found that healthcare is a major concern with younger generations as they grow older, especially with escalating costs.

The majority of millennials (56%) and Gen Xers (49%) express feeling trapped in their current jobs, fearful that a career change might cost them their essential health insurance – a concern shared by only 34% of boomers.

Lastly, the perceived support from employers for retirement savings appears to be dwindling. Over half of millennials (57%) feel they’re receiving less support than their parents did, a sentiment shared by 47% of Gen Xers and 43% of boomers.

All things considered, this paints a grim picture of modern employees’ faith in their employers’ commitment to their financial wellbeing.

In conclusion

In a nutshell, despite some feeling financially better off than their parents, the data unearths a concerning trend: fear of running out of money reigns supreme, driven by a lack of planning, wavering employer support, and a disconnect with economic realities.

As it stands, the fear of going broke is swiftly becoming the new ‘death and taxes’ of our times. We clearly have a growing need for greater financial literacy and strategic planning in our fluctuating economy.

B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.