Personal finance is a top priority for most Americans, but six out of ten say their financial planning efforts need improvement, according to a new Northwestern Mutual survey.
The survey asked over a thousand Americans whether they were “moving in the right direction” in areas such as debt, savings and spending, and whether they could stay on course over the long-term to meet their goals.
60% said they needed financial planning help, citing these barriers to getting it done on their own:
- “not enough time” (33%)
- “find it too confusing” (28%)
- “not enough interest” (21%)
- “don’t now where to find the right help” (18%)
Other highlights of the survey:
- Over 50% surveyed say they are disciplined planners, with specific goals and a plan to meet them
- 38% say they are informal planners, with a general sense of financial planning goals, but no formal plan or specific goals in place
- 7% say they have no financial goals or plans
Here’s our two cents: Previous research has shown that you are more likely to reach your financial goals if you have a formal, written plan in place, so your first priority should be to decide where it is you want to go, and identify steps to get there. Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual executive vice president, echoes this view. “Developing a plan to reach your goals is just as important as having a goal in the first place,” he says. “A solid financial plan can help put risk in perspective, and allows people to navigate uncertainty better by providing flexible options over time.”