Research from Prudential reveals just how far Americans are from reaching financial goals, like having enough savings to get through retirement years, as well as how optimistic or pessimistic they are about their financial future.
More than half of Americans believe their financial wellness is below average based on their level of income, savings, assets and debts, according to Prudential’s first-ever Financial Wellness Census. Out of 22 common financial goals, most Americans only have two under control: staying in their home when they retire and keeping up with current expenses.
“Our relationship with money can affect our physical health, stress levels and state of mind, family dynamics and even our performance at work,” says Stephen Pelletier, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Prudential’s U.S. based businesses. “Only by listening can we truly learn what people need to help them get on the path to financial wellness and stay on the right track throughout their lives.”
Almost a third of Americans think they are better or worse off financially than they actually are. Nearly 20 percent perceive themselves to be in good financial shape despite having a low level of objective financial health. Over 10 percent of those with high levels of objective financial health are still pessimistic about their finances.
Respondents ranked having enough savings to last through retirement years and the ability to pay for future healthcare needs as the most important financial goals. Surprisingly, for more than 70 percent simply keeping up with current expenses is their primary financial focus.
Even though less than half of Americans are on track to achieve their financial goals, more than 50 percent are optimistic that they will eventually achieve them. Prudential’s report offers a reason for this positivity discrepancy, finding that working with a financial advisor correlates with a more positive outlook on financial health.
It’s not enough to offer retirement benefits if employees don’t know how to manage and grow their 401(k) (or finances in general). “The journey to financial wellness is deeply personal,” says Niharika Shah, Prudential Financial’s vice president of brand marketing. Financial wellness benefits that include personalized support features help employees learn more about improving their financial health, reduce their financial stress and bring them closer to achieving their financial goals.