Scary Financial Facts

Because There's Just Not Enough to Frighten Us This Halloween

Scary Financial Facts
October 27, 2017

It's that time of year when the leaves change colors, pumpkin flavoring is crammed into everything imaginable (who needs Eye Drops with Pumpkin Spice?), and scary things come out on Halloween – but will you open your door on October 31 and be confronted by anything scarier than these hair-raising financial horror stories?

They Stole My Identity – First we find out that a data breach at Equifax exposes the personal information of 145.5 million people, and then we find out that the Yahoo hack in 2013 exposed the information of every single one of their 3 billion accounts. Is there a single American who hasn't been hacked yet?

The odds are great that your personal information is for sale to identity thieves – or already in their hands. Can you foil them with credit freezes and other ID protection measures before it's too late? Is it already too late? Does your VISA card contain mysterious purchases from a country ending in "stan", or 27 large screen TVs from Best Buy? If you would like to monitor your credit to prevent identity theft and see your credit reports and scores, check out our credit monitoring service.

The Debt That Ate My Future – Student loan debt has reached an amazing $1.45 trillion, with indebted Class of 2016 graduates owing an average of $37,712. Approximately 1 out of 9 (11.2%) of student loans are delinquent (either in default or with payments at least 90 days overdue).

Too many Americans are being slowly crushed by their student loan debt burden, especially when other debts are included – an average credit card debt of $4,061 per cardholder, an average mortgage debt of $106,132, total auto loan debt of $1.16 trillion, and 42.9 million people with an average of $1,766 in overdue medical debt. Will economic growth and wage increases come in time to save them, or will their hopes and dreams for a better life be cruelly dashed?

Health Care Nightmare – Who knows what horrors await you if you become sick and your insurance premiums are too high for you to afford? Average out-of-pocket medical costs continue to rise, topping $10,000 in 2016. Meanwhile, premiums continue to rise on the health care exchanges.

Over the past four years, premiums in the individual marketplace have more than doubled. As insurers back out of some markets and political uncertainty reigns, premiums on the state insurance exchanges continue to rise rapidly. For example, rates in Georgia are up by 57%.

Insurance companies priced in the likelihood that President Trump would continue his assault on the Affordable Care Act. Given Trump's actions to allow cheaper policies containing fewer benefits and to cut off an expected $9 billion in cost-sharing subsidies to insurers, the insurers chose wisely – but will we be swamped with excessive costs as a result?

Release the Nukes – What list of potential horrors would be complete without the prospect of nuclear war? The current tense relations between the U.S. and North Korea make that horrible concept more plausible – and in addition to the terrible death toll and destruction of property, the financial impact on the world economy would be hard to imagine.

For reference, a paper from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) notes that spending on the Chernobyl accident – a single release that took place in a relatively isolated area – was over $13 billion between 1991 and 2003. ICAN cites a separate study estimating the cost of a nuclear explosion in New York City at $10 trillion or above – over half of our current GDP.

Remember the famous quote of Albert Einstein, "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Then remember the leaders who have their fingers on their respective nuclear buttons. Are you frightened yet?


Photo ©iStockphoto.com/inhauscreative

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brittany.martinez530 | 10.26.16 @ 15:47
This is definitely interesting and rather worrisome in some areas. Economy stuff is always scary at times.
Amanda | 10.26.16 @ 15:48
Crazy scary facts when it's down in front of you. Numbers don't lie.
Erin | 10.26.16 @ 15:49
I keep hearing that the economy is doing great or is absolutely in the gutter (depending on who is running for which office). It looks like, from a variety of articles on this site, that the truth is somewhere in between. It seems that we have a lot of work to do yet, and the next election will either give us more of the same, plodding growth or plunge us into more turmoil. Either way, it doesn't look to be a spectacular four years for the economy.
Zanna | 10.26.16 @ 17:18
Student loan debt is a huge concern, and the huge fluctuations in medical coverage costs worry me. It's impossible for people to plan well when nothing seems to stay steady enough to make a budget. I hope it's mainly media hype and things will calm down after the election.
Patricia | 10.26.16 @ 18:12
Debt is scary no matter what time of year it is! I know we have kept the number of Credit Cards we have low, and have said no once the credit limit far exceeded what we would ever want to have in debt at any given time. But getting into debt is easy.. I feel like while the economy may not be the greatest right now, I definitely feel it has gotten better than it was. But the seeing these numbers it is still too low for comfort!
Christina | 10.26.16 @ 18:42
No good news in the news today... and not much hope for a change, regardless of who gets elected. Seems impossible to make any plans for the future when there's no stability.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 11.23.17 @ 09:23
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