America’s personal financial meltdown has begun — and it’s playing out in the doctor’s office.
The record debt US consumers are ratcheting up is propelling a rise in mental illness and widespread emotional distress, according to experts. Family fights over missed credit card payments and millennial tears over student loan obligations are sharpening the pain.
“A lot of our clients are experiencing financial hardship, leading to another problem — mental and physical sickness,” Oleg Yavorovskiy, founder and CEO of New York-based Guardian Debt Relief, told The Post. “High levels of personal debt can cause high levels of stress and a strain on marriages. We see clients with all the symptoms,” he added.
US consumer debt crossed the $14 trillion threshold earlier this year — surpassing the 2008 recession debt figure by a whopping $1 trillion.
By the end of 2018, US consumers’ average balance on credit cards ticked up 2.4%, to $6,506, compared with the previous year, according to Experian.
Yavorovskiy’s job is to help cash-strapped consumers reduce or eliminate unsecured debt. And there’s plenty of it — his typical client has debt of $27,000, he said. One is a recently divorced father of two, who had $150,000 in debt. A banker client, fully buried in debt, owed $200,000 in private student loans.
“I do think we are in pretty serious trouble as a country financially, when you see these things,” said Yavorovskiy, a former staffer in the research department at Goldman Sachs.
Overall US debt is surging everywhere — there’s now nearly $23 trillion in national debt alone, triggering a kind of debt-induced psychosis among more Americans coping with cognitive dissonance, say analysts.
“Americans are also hugely stressed out by their personal finances — many are taking meds, drinking heavily and visiting physiatrists and doctors just to cope,” one financial adviser told The Post.
A study conducted by PayOff, a financial wellness company, identified symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder among 23% of US consumer respondents. PayOff dubbed it “acute financial stress” — and said it was experienced by 36% of millennials.
And, according to a survey by CompareCards.com, almost 70% of Americans have shed tears over their financial affairs lately. The survey revealed that almost half of millennials between 23 and 38 revealed that they had cried over money at least once in the past month. The study found that money is the “chief stressor” for at least 40% of Americans, and that overall personal debt has made 31% of people “emotional.”
Yavorovskiy predicts more mental turmoil. One troubling sign: Studies show most Americans have no idea if and when they will be debt free, he said. “More companies are now eyeing high-risk consumers with less-than-stellar credit, offering them personal loans,” he said, adding, “American consumers need to take more care with their spending and saving habits, that’s the lesson.”