Financial Health is Vital to Your Future
Effective long-term retirement planning can be critical. Financial experts agree that most retirees may be unable to meet their day-to-day living expenses with income derived solely from traditional sources such as social security and pension funds. The increased cost of living and greater life expectancies call for careful planning in order to help enjoy a more comfortable retirement lifestyle.
In a 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey2, 53 percent of workers cited cost of living and day-to-day expenses topped their list of reasons why they have not saved (or saved more) for retirement. Fifty-eight percent of workers and 44 percent of retirees reported having a problem with their level of debt. Furthermore, 24 percent of workers and 17 percent of retirees indicated their current level of debt is higher than five years ago.
Many Americans find themselves caring for elderly parents and trying to make mortgage and student loan payments, while at the same time, looking after young children. They often have far too much on their plates to really take care of themselves, let alone have the extra time and money to dedicate to saving for retirement. Some individuals simply don’t know how to manage their money, living from paycheck to paycheck and with little or no savings and credit. When faced with an emergency, unexpected expense, or major purchase, they often arrive at decisions that only make their financial situations worse.
A PricewaterhouseCooper’s 2014 Employee Financial Wellness Survey3 found that a whopping 50 percent of American workers reported anxiety over having insufficient funds to face emergencies, and 27 percent think they’ll probably have to use money set aside for retirement to pay for other expenses before they retire.
What does financial health mean for you?
For many, financial health means minimal financial stress; Building a strong financial foundation based on little or no debt, an emergency savings fund and living below your means; and a plan that puts you on track to meet future financial goals.
Just as our home can get messy or cluttered, so too can our “financial house.” With Spring approaching, it’s a good time to evaluate your financial situation. Credit card debt or household expenses pile up, retirement planning falls by the wayside, or a significant life change wreaks havoc on your budget. Taking a good hard look at your budget and making even small changes today can be very beneficial to your long-term financial goals.
Where to start?
Try to do a spring cleaning of your finances by following these action items:
» Calculate the amount of credit card/loan debt you may have and how to pay it off in a timely manner
» Determine your individual credit score and ways to improve it
» Understand your employee benefits, pension, Social Security benefits and/or §401(k) plans and how to maximize contributions
» Develop a monthly budget
» Review insurance policies and other financial documents
» Set short- and long-term life goals
Your Financial Professional can offer various organizational strategies for your finances, allowing you to manage your expenses more efficiently and begin allocating more money to savings. Taking time to prioritize your spending and setting clear financial goals can help alleviate day-to-day stress you may have related to money.
 Outlook. A publication of the South Dakota Retirement System. Number 3, March, 2013, p.1.
 The 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Rebounds—for Those With Retirement Plans Employee Benefit Research Institute.
 PricewaterhouseCooper's 2014 Employee Financial Wellness Survey