WSJ Survey: Most Aren’t Prepared For College, Retirement Costs

Recently found this article WSJ reported today. We know here in our office that most parents are struggling to figure out how to pay for college and retire! My job is to help jump those hurdles!

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A majority of Americans reported they don’t have a “rainy day” fund and are not adequately prepared for their children’s college education and their own retirement, according to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority survey.

Along with those findings, the survey found almost half of Americans reported having trouble keeping up with monthly expenses and bills, with just under 14% saying it was very difficult to do so and 35% finding it was somewhat difficult.

Finra, which is a non-government regulator for U.S. securities firms, said the survey painted a “troubling picture” of the current state of financial capability in the U.S. adult population. The recent economic crisis has hit Americans hard, and 49% of respondents said they set aside funds to cover expenses for three months in case of sickness, job loss, the economic downturn other emergencies.

The survey also found a majority of Americans appear not to have done any retirement planning.

In preparing for college, 41% reported saving to fund their children’s educations, with only a third of those reporting they used a tax-advantaged savings account such as a 529 Plan. The lack of financial planning comes amid skyrocketing tuition and fees in recent years at four-year schools, a trend that is unlikely to abate.

The data also showed a disconnect between perceptions and actions in day-to-day financial matters. When asked how good they are at dealing with day-to-day financial matters, such as managing checking accounts and tracking expenses, half of respondents with credit cards and checking accounts gave themselves the top score. However, one-quarter of those separately indicated they engaged in behaviors that generate fees or high costs. Among those who gave themselves a score of 6, 40% engaged in those fee- and cost-generating behaviors.

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