Forbes: Warped Financial Priorities Lead to Tough Retirement for Americans

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Americans place much of their focus on managing their existing debt over saving for the future, which results in their overall loss of focus on adequately saving enough money for retirement.

This is according to Jamie Hopkins, director of retirement research at Carson Wealth in a piece at Forbes.

“Most parents list paying down existing debt as their number one financial priority over longer term goals like saving for college or retirement,” Hopkins says in citing a study conducted by New York Life Insurance Company. “However, the number of American parents focused on primarily paying down debt is astonishing, with roughly 72 percent of parents saying their primary financial focus in 2019 will be debt management.”

Because Americans lack general focus in planning for their long-term financial health, many of them are forced to seek out the guidance of retirement professionals in later years, Hopkins says. However, many of the same individuals in the New York Life survey who stated their focus on debt management also display an unwillingness to get professional guidance on their long-term saving plans.

“Only 30 percent of the respondents stated they plan to seek expert help in 201[9], down from 38 percent in 2018,” Hopkins says.

All of these issues feed into a series of larger problems, putting many Americans in a difficult financial situation by the time they get into a vulnerable position without adequate savings in retirement.

“Americans don’t view financial advice as a solution to their financial woes, yet they have difficulty planning for the future,” Hopkins says. “Nearly 42 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.”

In order to try and better prepare more people for their financial futures, there are three key recommendations Hopkins makes in order for people to more adequately secure them. The first is for people not to spend money they don’t have, and people can start better looking toward this goal by visualizing their spending habits, Hopkins says.

Saving any increases in income and pushing for consumers to educate themselves concerning investment options are also advised by Hopkins, who has also advocated for the wider contemplation of reverse mortgages as a financial tool in retirement funding.

Read the full article at Forbes.