Is Money Making You Sick? The Real Cost of Debt in America

Debt is a heavy burden for many Americans, and it’s not just about keeping up with the Joneses. According to a recent Time article, the staggering amount of debt that Americans carry is linked to significant physical and mental health issues. The question posed by the author is not just rhetorical; the stress associated with financial instability can indeed make people physically ill.

The average American is drowning in debt, and the numbers are alarming. Credit card debt alone is at an all-time high, with Americans collectively owing over $1 trillion. While some of this debt can be attributed to overspending on luxury items or vacations, a significant portion arises from unexpected medical expenses. Imagine going through cancer treatment three times a week. Such a regimen leaves little room for maintaining a full-time job, leading to mounting medical bills that quickly spiral into unmanageable debt.

This kind of debt doesn’t just strain bank accounts—it affects physical and mental health. The constant worry about how to pay off debt can lead to chronic stress, which is linked to a host of health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Lack of sleep due to financial anxiety can exacerbate these problems, creating a vicious cycle where poor health leads to more debt, and more debt leads to poorer health.

The mental health crisis is also compounded by the fact that those struggling with debt often cannot afford the necessary medical treatment to improve their condition, perpetuating a cycle of illness and financial instability.

Michael A. Scarpati, CEO of RetireUS, has seen firsthand the disparity in access to quality financial guidance. “From my early days in finance, I saw a clear disparity in who had access to quality independent financial guidance—it was reserved mostly for the ultra affluent,” says Scarpati. This disparity means that while some can afford to navigate their way out of debt with professional help, many are left to fend for themselves, often making their financial situation worse.

A survey by Experian revealed that 63% of Baby Boomers and 74% of Generation X have experienced financial trauma in their lives. Financial trauma can stem from various sources: job loss, medical emergencies, or sudden economic downturns. These traumas leave lasting scars, making it difficult for individuals to make proactive financial decisions. “Even those working with a financial professional were unaware of the conflicts of interest influencing the advice they were receiving. This sparked my passion to democratize financial guidance, ensuring that independent expert-level guidance is not a luxury service but a standard offering accessible to everyone,” says Scarpati.

RetireUS aims to bridge this gap by offering affordable financial guidance through a subscription-based model. By democratizing access to financial advice, RetireUS hopes to alleviate some of the financial stress that plagues so many Americans. Continuous support and unbiased advice allow users to make informed decisions, adapt to changing circumstances, and ultimately reduce their financial stress.

The future for those burdened by debt can still be hopeful. Taking proactive steps to manage finances, such as creating a budget, consolidating debt, and investing wisely, can lead to significant improvements in financial stability and health. While debt can make you sick, there are ways to break the cycle. Platforms like RetireUS provide the necessary tools and guidance to help individuals regain control of their finances, leading to better health and a brighter future. By addressing the root causes of financial stress and providing accessible support, we can hope to see a significant improvement in the overall well-being of Americans.

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