• December 7, 2022

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With memories of the ‘ghosts of Halloween past’ that include figuring out how to Trick or Treat safely amid a global pandemic, 2022 could still prove more trick than treat where our finances are concerned. This is according to a new survey released by WalletHub, a personal finance website and service. WalletHub comes out with a lot of surveys that help shape the narrative on the consumer front, and this year’s Halloween Spending and Fears survey is certainly no exception.

Up first, though, respondents plan to spend a whopping $10.6 billion on Halloween related expenses this year, making them festive, but cautious, about their finances given that 80% said they planned to spend less this year compared to last. Spend hesitation is understandable given the rise in costs for everything from energy to costumes to candy. When it came to back-to-school, the National Retail Federation reported that parents said they were willing to trim their spending elsewhere to accommodate for inflation, and the coming holidays seem somewhat poised for similar moves.

The biggest nightmare on Main Street this year is inflation, with 41% of respondents agreeing that inflation has them scared the most and their biggest financial fear is an unplanned financial emergency, which ready.gov defines as “any expense or loss of income you do not plan for, like a missed paycheck, a damaged roof, a flat tire, or medical bill.”

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Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for WalletHub said in a press release, “fear, which makes sense considering that millions of people live paycheck to paycheck and have little in savings. Other lending financial fears include not having enough retirement savings, job loss and fraud.”

But money in general is a stressor according to the WalletHub survey, which found 26% of respondents saying it scared or stressed them out the most right now, ahead of the economy (20%), politics (18%), and even war (10%.)

Eighty-six percent of survey respondents also reported that they were somewhat or very fearful of the current economy. “With persistent inflation and widespread concern about a protracted recession that could push unemployment up from near record lows, there is indeed plenty for people to worry about,” said Gonzalez.

The financial fright extends beyond overall economic woes, though. It’s more of an all-encompassing situation right now. WalletHub also found that 42% of respondents reported having nightmares this year that were related to their finances. Meanwhile, over one-third of respondents reported that their finances were currently a “horror show.”

Collectively, we have less in personal savings and increasing debt right now, which, when coupled with inflated prices and a bumpy stock market, creates an environment where “short term outlook is gloomy,” said Gonzalez. “That’s a recipe for horror right there.”

And while it’s difficult to say what might end up slaying this financial nightmare and giving the current horror show its happier ending, budgeting, and reducing your credit card and other bad debts could at least help you sleep a little bit easier at night.

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