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The Personal Financial Concerns of Plan Participants

About 60 percent of plan participants think the next year is going to improve their financial situation. 

| BY Kent McDill

Plan participants obviously think about retirement and their personal finances from time to time, and apparently some of the thoughts are not positive.

Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner report Attitudes of Retirement Plan Participants shows that plan participants have a high level of concern about their personal finances. Looking at it from the other point of view, their perspective on their personal finances is not overwhelmingly positive.

For example, when asked “Do you fully expect to have sufficient income to live comfortably in retirement?” only 47 percent of plan participants said “Yes.” Looking at plan participants based on age, the highest percentages of “yes’’ voters were among the youngest (35 and younger) and the oldest (65 and above) and each of those was only at 54 percent. Only 46 percent of investors 50-64 years of age agreed with the statement and only 45 percent of those 35 to 49 think they are set for retirement.

As will be seen in almost every category, males are more optimistic than females, and in the case of having sufficient income for a comfortable retirement, 55 percent of men said they had it and only 42 percent of women said so.

There is not a significant amount of concern over debt amounts. Overall, 32 percent said they were concerned about the amount of debt their household currently has, and that number rose to 38 percent of plan participants 35 years of age and younger. It was 37 percent for participants 50-to-64, and 36 percent among females, who tend to be more pessimistic about finances.

Forty-two percent of all participants said they were not saving enough in preparation for retirement, showing that there is a balancing act between acquiring debt in one hand and saving funds in the other.

There are very mixed feelings in regards to the way a plan participant’s financial situation has changed over the previous year and will change over the next year. When asked to say “yes’’ or “no’’ to the sentence “My financial situation today is better than it was one year ago”, only 60 percent of all plan participants said “yes.” Males were more confident than females, and the most positive group was the plan participants over the age of 50.

A similar statement – “I expect my financial situation will be stronger one year from now than at present” – produced only 59 percent of “yes’’ responses. Interestingly, the most optimistic segment was the youngest plan participants, with 68 percent agreeing to the statement.

In the study, plan participants were asked to rate their wealth status on a 0-to-100 scale, with “0’’ representing less wealthy and “100’’ representing more wealthy. The total group saw themselves in the middle of the pack, at 50.38, but agreed that their parents (46.76) and their spouse’s parents (40.84) were less wealthy.

Every plan participant was asked to select their concerns over personal financial issues, and the concern most often selected was “maintaining my current financial position’’, tabbed by 71 percent of plan participants. Others that were selected by more than half of all plan participants was “being able to retire when I want to” (64 percent), “the health of my spouse” (60 percent), “my own health” (57 percent), “spending my final years in a care facility” (55 percent), “family health catastrophe” (53 percent), “having someone to care for me in my old age” (51 percent), “the financial situation of my children or grandchildren” (51 percent) and “responsibility for aging parents” (51 percent).

      



About the Author


Kent McDill

kmcdill@spectrem.com

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.

 


 

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