|By Paul Gores, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|
When asked what type of planner they are, 38% described themselves as "informal," meaning they have a general sense of their goals and how to meet them, but no specific plan in place. Another 7% said they have no specific goals or plans in place.
"This research reflects that most Americans see the value in setting financial goals, but a large number don't know how they'll get there," said
The study, conducted by
"The unpredictability of the market is reflected in the fact that people continue to be risk-averse," said Oberland. "A solid financial plan can help put risk in perspective, and allows people to navigate uncertainty better by providing flexible options over time."
Other findings from the research include:
The No. 1 approach to saving and investing is "slow and steady wins the race" (36%). Yet more than one-fifth (21%) indicated, "I'd like to be more cautious but I have a lot of catching up to do."
Among priorities for improvement in 2012, finances (43%) came second only to personal health (48%). That was well ahead of spending time with family and friends (31%), career (12%) and education (5%).
Americans appear to be risk-averse: 40% of respondents show a strong preference for safer but lower returns with very low risk vs. only 25% who strongly prefer the opportunity for higher returns with higher risk.
The majority of Americans are taking steps to pay down their debt (62%), develop a budget (61%), save a portion of their paycheck regularly (58%), build up an emergency fund (58%) and organize financial documents (56%).
Northwestern Mutual sponsored the study to evaluate the state of financial planning in America, and people's progress toward reaching their long-term financial goals. Independent research firm
(c)2012 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|