Insurance: An Impulse Buy for Increasingly Anxious Americans

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“The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was startled during my recent trip to the bookstore. The advice/self-help section, cleverly located in the high traffic area between the front door and the café, had 2 seven-foot high bookcases dedicated to only three topics:  Stress, Anxiety, and Depression. I took a closer look. How is it possible that there are thirty different books about depression? And fifty about stress?! Is the American reader actually demanding such an exhaustive library on these afflictions? The answer is yes. If you live and work in the United States, I don’t need to tell you that our stress levels are at an all-time high. As the economy limps along toward what we hope is a recovery, people continue to work inhuman hours, just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. In fact, those who actually have a job, no matter how stressful or unsatisfying, consider themselves the lucky ones.

So how is this all connected to the insurance industry? Insurance is marketed as a weapon against our greatest fears – illness, injury, loss of valuable property, and death. Insurance commercials and intrepid brokers cleverly ask you, “What will you do when <insert misfortune here>?”, and when you imagine that terrible event occurring and feel that grip of fear and uncertainty, they offer you the antidote:  Insurance. We buy insurance because the insurer promises that our coverage will make the difficult times much easier.

Therefore, in these turbulent times, insurance is an easy sell. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA.org) estimates that 18%, or almost 1/5th of our population, suffers from an anxiety disorder. This doesn’t include those who suffer normal, healthy levels of anxiety when confronted with threats to their safety and livelihood. Add the stress from this struggling economy and our increased work hours, and the depression of never having a vacation or feeling like we are getting ahead in life,* and you have a potent anxiety cocktail. Those who can squeeze insurance into their meager budget are doing so, and those who can’t afford it are feeling an added dose of stress every time they see those emotional commercials about “protecting their loved ones” and “obtaining peace of mind” by purchasing insurance.

*See Washington Post Article Citing ABC Poll on Hopes for 2013

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By the way, if you are in the market for a great book on how to manage Anxiety like a pro, check this one out:

Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic: A Step-by-Step Program for Regaining Control of Your Life by Reneau Z. Peurifoy

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