It’s fun to pretend to be afraid while children and grandchildren run around in costumes for one day each year. Which scares you the most—ghosts? Clowns? How about zombies? One study from 2014 found that clowns are scarier than ghosts, but zombies are scarier than both.

Overall, the fear of zombies is fairly low, given they were listed by only 9% of those surveyed. Instead, the top fears were public speaking, heights, snakes, drowning, and blood/needles, in that order.

When fears become chronic, they may be classified as phobias by the American Psychiatric Association. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests phobias affect approximately 10% of US adults each year. Many phobias have scientific names, one of which is well-known due to the Hollywood horror movie, “Arachnophobia.”

In no particular order, here are some common phobias:



Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. (See, you knew that one.) This phobia affects an estimated 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men.



Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes. (Is a creature with no legs scarier than a creature with eight?)



Acrophobia is the fear of heights. This phobia impacts more than 6% of people.



Cynophobia is the fear of dogs. (How is that even a thing, you may ask. It’s usually brought on by a bad dog experience in childhood.)



Trypanophobia is the fear of injections and hypodermic needles.



Aerophobia is the fear of flying, which affects between 10% to 40% of US adults despite the fact that airplane accidents are actually very uncommon.



Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning.



Agoraphobia is the fear that environments outside the home are unsafe. Two-thirds of those affected by this phobia are women.



Mysophobia is the excessive fear of germs and dirt. Think Howard Hughes.


In Conclusion

There are hundreds of phobias which have been classified; people can develop a phobia of almost anything. As society changes, new phobias emerge. For instance, nomophobia is the fear of being without a cell phone or computer.

In 2018, Chapman University did a comprehensive, in-depth study with 1,190 random adults across the US, which indicated Americans are becoming more afraid, and their fears have changed.

Now, the top fears in America include corrupt government officials, pollution, and not having enough money for the future. Climate change, fear of losing loved ones, and high medical bills were also in the top 10.

While some of these issues are outside anyone’s control, you can reduce some of your personal fears with solid financial planning. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

In particular, a good retirement plan can allay the fear of not having enough money for the future by helping you create reliable income that will last, no matter how long you live. A good plan will also help you address rising health care costs.

Decker Retirement Planning Inc. is a registered investment advisor in the state of Washington. Our investment advisors may not transact business in states unless appropriately registered or excluded or exempted from such registration. We are registered as an investment advisor in WA, ID, UT, CA, NV and TX. We can provide investment advisory services in these states and other states where we are exempted from registration.