With people living longer than ever before, thinking about retirement should be a top priority for Americans. Yet according to a study by MassMutual titled “Taking Chances,” the future is something on which Americans consistently roll the dice.
The study, composed of two separate surveys, asked a total of 2,016 Americans ages 18 and older questions about the degree of planning that they do in preparation for various life events. The results indicated that respondents prioritize many life events over retirement planning, an approach the study calls misplaced.
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The survey found that Americans generally put more effort into planning their next vacation than their financial futures, with 42 percent of people claiming to carefully research every detail of an upcoming vacation, while only 32 percent said they researched every detail of their retirement plan.
Americans also tend to spend more time in pursuing gifts for the holidays than on their retirement plans, with 37 percent saying they work to make their holiday gifts perfect, while only 24 percent said that they work to make their retirement plans perfect.
Sixty-five percent said they were likely to leave their financial well-being up to chance, and the same percentage said they would leave their health to chance, whereas only 53 percent said they would take a chance on personal relationships.
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The survey also found that very few Americans have been saving money for a rainy day. Only around a third said they have enough money stashed away in case of an emergency, and about a quarter indicated that they definitely do not.
A lack of information may play into Americans’ failure to plan for the future, as fewer than half have received financial advice from a financial institution, the study said.
Twenty-seven percent said they find information on personal finance from family, 19 percent from friends and 18 percent from significant others, while a quarter said have received no information at all about financial planning.
Of those who said they do have a rainy-day fund, only 11 percent have not received any information on personal finance, whereas of those without a rainy day fund, 49 percent have received no information on personal finance.