Data and Research

Many Admit They Could Improve Savings Habits

Survey results suggest men and women are broadly concerned about affording unexpected expenses, affording health care costs and being able to take desired vacations.

By John Manganaro editors@plansponsor.com | April 13, 2017

The updated COUNTRY Financial Security Index reveals “notable differences” between the way men and women think about and seek out financial help.

At a high level, according to the firm, men are more likely to seek out financial advice from others than women.

“When asked whether respondents had ever sought financial advice around common topics like retirement planning or taxes, male respondents had consistently done so more than women on every topic,” the firm says. “In addition, the study shows that nearly a quarter of women (24%) have never sought financial advice, compared to only 15% of men reporting the same.”

The research shows the reasons why both men and women seek out professional financial advice vary. The most common topic, retirement planning, was cited by 45% of men and 37% of women. Tax-related matters are also common topics driving individuals to seek out formal, professional advice.

Other topics that form the basis of new client relationships, though less common, include insurance optimization, non-retirement investing, home purchase planning, estate planning, college expense planning, and charitable giving, among others.

Troy Frerichs, director of wealth management at COUNTRY Financial, warns that 44% of Americans report they are “not as responsible with their spending choices as they should be … 51% report they are not managing their investments or savings as well as they should.” He urges individuals to seek out professional assistance on these issues.

Other survey results show Americans are currently most concerned about affording unexpected expenses (44%), affording health care costs (41%) and being able to take desired vacations (36%).

“In one's journey to a more secure financial future, it also helps to have a network of trusted advisers that can be counted on for advice,” Frerichs concludes. “This can range from family, friends, co-workers, employers, financial advisers and beyond. Today, half of Americans report consulting a family member (i.e., mother, father, spouse, sibling or child) for financial advice, while 40% reported going to a financial adviser. Meanwhile, seeking financial advice from friends (16%), employers (11%) and coworkers (6%) is less common, but can also be valuable if you consider them trustworthy, resourceful and knowledgeable.”

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