There’s a New Financial Disease Going Around — Do You Have Symptoms?

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Americans, especially younger ones, are obsessed with being rich, and it’s likely leading to poor financial decisions.

A recent Credit Karma survey of more than 1,000 adults in the U.S. found that roughly 44% of Generation Z and 46% of millennials are obsessed with being rich. Overall, 27% of the Americans surveyed share this obsession — which might help explain why 29% say they experience money dysmorphia.

Credit Karma defines money dysmorphia as “having a distorted view of one’s finances that could lead them to make poor decisions.” People with money dysmorphia feel insecure about their financial standing, regardless of how good or bad their finances are in reality.

Members of Gen Z (43%) and millennials (41%) were most likely to report having experienced money dysmorphia, but only 25% of Gen X survey respondents and 14% of those age 59 or older said they had experienced it.

Of survey respondents who experienced money dysmorphia, the majority (82%) said they feel behind on their finances, compared with only 29% of respondents without that condition.

Despite those feelings of inadequacy, 37% of those with money dysmorphia reported having at least $10,000 in savings.

Still, respondents who didn’t report money dysmorphia were more likely to have money tucked away, with 52% having at least $10,000.

In fact, the vast majority (95%) of people with money dysmorphia say it negatively affects their finances. Specifically, this group reports that the insecurity has:

  • Held them back from building savings (40%)
  • Led them to overspend (38%)
  • Led them to take on more debt (32%)
  • Held them back from saving for a home and paying down debt (30%)

Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma, says:

“Money dysmorphia is kind of like today’s version of keeping up with the Joneses. … A lot of people are examining their finances and comparing themselves to their peers, people on social media, and even celebrities, which is bringing up feelings of inadequacy. This distortion between perception and reality can prevent people from taking steps towards achieving their financial goals.”

As Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson says, “You can either look rich or be rich, but you probably won’t live long enough to accomplish both.”

He shares this and more advice for forgetting about the Joneses in “The 10 Commandments of Wealth and Happiness.”

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