NU Online News Service, Dec. 18, 2003, 10:14 a.m. EST – Rising health care costs may have hurt the finances of more U.S. residents than the stock market slump did, according to survey results released by American Express Financial Advisors, Minneapolis.[@@]

When Russell Research Inc., New York, polled 1,112 U.S. adults through the Web in late October and early November, it found that one-third said their financial situation had worsened over the past 2 years.

One-third of the participants who said their financial situation had deteriorated blamed the stock slump, but about 40% blamed an increase in health care costs, AEFA says.

Most of the survey participants expect to see major life events affect their personal finances over the next 2 years.

The events are:

- Getting a new job: 29%.

- Buying a home: 19%.

- Having or adopting a child: 9%.

- Sending a child to college: 8%.

Russell Research also asked about participants’ satisfaction with their current finances.

Only 38% of the single adults between the ages of 18 and 39 reported feeling satisfied. The satisfaction rates were 40% for married couples with children in their households and 53% for adults over 39 who had no children in their households.