Northwestern Mutual sponsored a study exploring the state of planning in America today that provides unique insights into people’s current attitudes and behaviors toward money, goal-setting and priorities. The study surveyed more than 1,500 Americans aged 25 or older. (Conducted 2013)
The study showed that more than six in ten (63%) Americans say their financial planning needs improvement; and that the No. 1 obstacle is not having enough time (24%).
Download Planning and Progress 2013 – Financial Planning Obstacles
The majority of Americans (69%) say the pace of society makes it harder for them to stick with long-term goals.
- More than one in four (26%) people say they either often or always feel too busy to think about long-term goals.
- Additionally, nearly one in three (31%) say they find the level of immediacy of society today – characterized by 24/7 connectivity and accessibility – to be distracting.
The study showed that half of all Americans have no financial plan in place, and when asked to specify what type of planners they are:
- 40% described themselves as “Informal,” meaning they have a general sense of their goals and how to meet them, but no specific plan in place.
- An additional 9% say they are “Non-Planners,” meaning they neither have specific goals nor specific plans of any kind.
- One in three (34%) people describe themselves as “Disciplined,” meaning they know their goals and have a plan in place, but deviate at times because they don’t always stay on top of them.
- Just 16% say they are “Highly Disciplined,” meaning they know their goals, have a plan in place to meet them, and rarely deviate.
When it comes to financial planning:
- Gen Y (ages 25-32) may be the most disciplined generation with 24% saying they are “Highly Disciplined” planners. This is a 50% increase over the full-sample average (16%).
- The discrepancy is even greater when comparing Generation Y (ages 25-32) to Baby Boomers (ages 47-66), among which only 14% are “Highly Disciplined.”
Download Financial Planning Needs Improvement infographic
Download Lack of Timeinfographic