Financial Planning Akin to Root Canal
Mature Life Features
If you think preparing and maintaining a financial plan is akin to a visiting your dentist, you’re in a big club.
More than 80 percent of Americans hate or only do financial planning because they have to, like cleaning the garage or the toilet bowl, according to a nationwide NFO Research Inc. survey of 1,000 adults aged 19 – 64.
More than half said they don’t feel confident about making good decisions, don’t understand numbers, or are afraid of what they might find if they examine their financial picture too closely.
“It’s hard to feel confident in your ability to manage your finances if you feel like you don’t make enough money,” said Randy Schuldt, a vice- president with IHate-FinancialPlanning.com, a website designed for people who dread financial planning. The survey was conducted by his firm.
Rather than shut down your economic engine, the company suggested you prepare for you financial future just as you would for a cross-country trip.
Just as you wouldn’t leave on such a trip without a road map, you should prepare and maintain a household budget to track daily spending, saving, and investing, and a financial plan to map out long-term financial goals.
Fifty percent of Americans maintain a household budget and only slightly more balance their checkbooks monthly, according to survey results, and more than 65 percent have never worked with a financial planner.
We hire plumbers, electricians, and auto mechanics to handle complicated repair problems but avoid seeing a financial professional to help with one of the most important aspects of our lives – finances, according to company spokepeople..
Survey figures present a rather bleak picture. Almost 20 percent of the respondents said they never learned how to do financial planning. Less than 5 percent actually took a course or seminar on the subject. The remainder said they learned about financial planning on their own by watching their parents or television, reading books and magazine articles, or from a friend or sibling.
Thirty percent said their parents never talked to them about money.
The survey revealed it often takes a serious life-altering event, such as a job-loss, having a baby, winning a lottery, or sending the children to college, to make people focus on their finances.
The purpose of financial planning, Holman said, is to reduce the stress in such situations.
While many Americans try to save money, they sabotage their efforts with too much debt and not investing in the best financial vehicles.
Almost a quarter of the survey respondents admitted they had too much credit-card debt, 14 percent do not have any money saved anywhere, and 12 percent are not putting anything away for retirement despite the fact that more than half said they’ll need at least $1 million for retirement.
Less than half contribute to a retirement account at work and 30 percent save money, whether its in coins or dollars or in a cookie jar at home — about the same amount that invest in stocks.
To curb the amount spent, nine out of 10 respondents said they clip coupons, 70 percent eat leftovers, and 60 percent buy items only when they’re on sale. What do they spend their money on? The number one financial pleasure is eating out, followed by spending too much on holiday gifts, and splurging on clothes.
Mature Life Features, Copyright 2003