My Economic Anxiety Index went from 73 to 7 8


I took the Marketplace Economic Anxiety Index test to see how I feel about the economy and my score was 7. My anxiety was way below that of the average of 37 for those in my age group. It made me believe the test says more about me as a person than about the economy (although there is a correlation about how people feel about economy that affects the economy).

current anxiety by age

It’s not like I went through the test fearless. The 7 point probably came from the fact that I’m a little afraid to not be able to pay for my kid’s colleges and very afraid for an unexpected medical bill (been there). There also wasn’t any question about “The Pulse” that will wipe out all financial records, but that’s a whole different anxiety I guess.

For fun I tried to take the test as if I was 27 again and fresh to this country living in Marin County.

27 years again

My score came in at 73. That is about 40 over that of the average person in that age group. I must have been a mental wreck at the time.

past anxiety by age

So how did I go from one of the worst scores to one of the better ones? Well maybe it’s true, maybe you have to hit rock bottom before…. It was exactly that anxiety to put me on my path to financial freedom. I came to this country at the age of 27 from the Netherlands which has universal healthcare and all in all a pretty good social and financial catch net.

The two things that struck having come here was there would be no pension for me other than what I saved and a single medical calamity cut put me in bankruptcy. Neither of those seemed to be of any concern growing up in Europe (read cost of healthcare elsewhere).

I took the economic anxiety I “suffered” and turned it into a plan. I decided to take control of the situation instead of it controlling me. The story of “how” is a long one and you’ll find bits and pieces of it on this blog or you can read my book and read it all. The point is my plan to build wealth didn’t come on a whim, I was trying to remedy a situation (73) and hard work and some luck (I wish hard work could do if for everyone but I realize that isn’t true) got me where I am today, at 7.

Why do I feel the test is more about me than about the economy? Well I know it is. The economy is okay today but there is still a lot to accomplish. When I was 27 however the economy was sizzling, it was only 3 years before the internet bubble burst after-all.  My anxiety index seems to be at an inverse of the economy.

To me, this makes the test so much more interesting. Yes, if enough people score high on this test it means they’ll go out and spend more money which is good for us all. What’s more interesting is how YOU feel about the economy. Check out your score. If it’s good then great, if it’s bad then act on it. Take your anxiety and turn it into something good. Take control of your finances.

You are not alone. Take the Economic Anxiety Index quiz. If you score high (high anxiety that is) because you are drowning in debt or afraid of unexpected expenses (be it about health or education), there are resources out there that can help you or at least help inspire you, including this blog.

Oh and while you are online, how about helping out the people that provided me with my score of 7. Support your local public radio. If you listen to them, donate or become a member, it seems the fair thing to do.

Good luck reaching your financial goals
feature photo source


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About Maarten van Lier

Maarten came to this country with a suitcase and a diploma. He created a financial plan and goal to become a millionaire in 10 years. He successfully turned his financial goals into reality, wrote a book about it and now blogs actively in hope of inspiring other to do the same.


8 thoughts on “My Economic Anxiety Index went from 73 to 7

  • Allan @ The Practical Saver

    This is really interesting.

    I did try the anxiety test and I got 2 out of 100 anxiety Index. According to the test, “People in this group are more likely to have steady jobs and good employment prospects, and they’re less likely to stress out about making monthly bills or saving for retirement.” I think there is truth in that. Now, I based this on me living in the US.

    If I were to try the test again and I live in the Philippines, where I was born and raised, my anxiety test will result in something different.

    • Maarten van Lier Post author

      That’s really interesting. I’m originally from the Netherlands where my index would have been lower than here. There I wouldn’t have to worry about medical bills and college costs.

      Having an index score of 2 is really good. That must make you sleep much better at night.

      • James

        One of the most significant benefits of retiring from military service, second only to the pension, is the access to quality, low-cost health insurance for life. As I have become more knowledgeable about how expensive insurance is for most, and how a lot of retirees struggle with health care expenses, I’m more thankful that I locked in that benefit.

  • Mr. Groovy

    Hey, Maarten. Very nice post. I have a slightly lower anxiety level than you (5). I think our only difference is that I worry less about out of control medical bills. And why is this the case? Complacency. I haven’t had any major medical issues thus far in my life, and I don’t see any on the horizon.

    But I readily admit that our healthcare system is a mess. Two years ago I had my ears de-waxed during a wellness exam. An aid spent about five minutes working over my ears with a big syringe filled with cleaning solution. My insurance covered the wellness exam but not the ear cleaning (I have a high deductible policy). So I knew I was paying for the ear cleaning. But I didn’t care. After all, how much could an ear-cleaning cost? Big mistake. The bill for the ear-cleaning was $125!

    • Maarten van Lier Post author

      Thx, yes i can’t shake the medical anxiety. Not only did our son’s broken elbow cost us $12,700 last year, back when I was working (with supposed good healthcare coverage) I saw a colleague go bankrupt because he had a brain tumor. The medications against nausea after chemo ($1,000 per pill) weren’t covered. That’s just one example of things not covered.

  • James

    One of the most significant benefits of retiring from military service, second only to the pension, is the access to quality, low-cost health insurance for life. As I have become more knowledgeable about how expensive insurance is for most, and how a lot of retirees struggle with health care expenses, I’m more thankful that I locked in that benefit.

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