Trick or Treat? It’s that time of year again, and not just in the candy-and-costumes sense. We’re entering the most expensive real estate on the calendar, when consumers traditionally rack up billions of dollars in credit card debt, investors shuffle their holdings and people try to enjoy themselves before making resolutions. There’s really no telling how things will turn out, either. We could be pleasantly surprised by our financial performance to end 2018. Or, we could give ourselves reason to stay scared well after Halloween.

So, will this year be more like 2015, when we added just $24 billion in credit card debt during the fourth quarter, or a repeat performance of Q4 2017’s $67 billion buildup? How much longer can the nearly 10-year-old bull market last? And most importantly, do we have reason to fear for the future of our wallets, even more than we might already?

Survey Findings:

  • 75 million Americans say their finances have reached “horror show” status, including 30% of millennials and 16% of baby boomers.
  • 2 in 3 people think the economy will get scarier in the next 12 months.
  • 54% of people think credit cards are a trick, not a treat.
  • 21 million people think a Halloween costume is worth going into debt for.
  • 29% of people say money leads the list of things that scare/stress them out the most, followed by politics at 25%.
  • 23% of people say their biggest financial fear is an unplanned emergency, followed by not having enough retirement savings (22%).
  • The worst credit cards charge annual fees as high as $995 and APRs up to 36%.