Short-term worries might be keeping Americans from tending to long-term priorities.
The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey asked Americans about concerns regarding their financial future. Almost a third (32 percent) of those surveyed worry they either will not be able to retire or will need to delay retirement in the future.
But just under half aren’t saving for retirement.
By a slim majority (51 percent), the number of Americans who responded they did not include retirement in their long-term financial goals outweighed those who did.
This finding is further supported by the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) The State of American Retirement report, which finds “nearly half of families have no retirement savings accounts at all.”
So, if we know that retirement is at risk, why aren’t we saving for it?
It might be because there are other, more immediate worries. Here’s what the Index revealed about what Americans report as their top three financial concerns based on their current financial situation:
Affording unexpected expenses (44 percent)
Heathcare costs (41 percent)
Taking desired vacations (36 percent)
Even with short-term concerns, turning a focus toward longer-term goals can just be a matter of perspective. Looking long-term can be a barrier for anyone, but it can be especially difficult when the long-term seems farther away.
The fear of the unknown
Early on in a working career, retirement might seem more like a concept than a real option.
The Index survey found that for Millennials retirement is a more frequent issue of concern than for subsequent generations. Forty-two percent of Millennial respondents reported they are concerned they will either have to delay retirement or will never be able to retire. Retirement is a concern for Millennials than Gen-Xers (40 percent) and Baby Boomers (21 percent).
Despite the pessimism over their retirement prospects, only 40 percent of Millennials say they include retirement in their long-term financial goals.
Retirement might seem a long way off for those in the 18-35 age group. But the traditional length of retirement age is also getting longer. The retirement plan of years past may no longer be viable by the time 2047 (or 2064) rolls around.
Outliving one’s assets is a real threat for those who are not including retirement in their long-term financial goals. For planning purposes, a good rule of thumb is to assume living to about age 90. Getting that plan in place might seem daunting, but getting started on the plan is the single most important action one can take. It might be easier than you think.
By taking some simple steps, at any stage of life, you can put a plan in place to secure your financial future. Step one is asking self-evaluation questions like:
How long will it be before I retire?
What is my desired standard of living in retirement?
Are there retirement benefits by employer offers, such as a 401(k) matching plan,
that I can maximize?
How much of what I am spending now can be turned into savings?
Once these questions, and a few others, are taken into account, a trusted financial advisor can help with the rest.
About The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®
Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at www.countryfinancial.com/newsroom and on Twitter at @helloCOUNTRY.
The COUNTRY Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial. This survey was conducted by EMC Research, Inc., an independent research firm, commissioned by COUNTRY Financial. Surveys were conducted using a national online research panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responsesfrom 1,000 U.S. adults over the age of 18 for national surveys with additional interviews completed in Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Oregon to bring the total in each of those states to 500 completed surveys.