What Are Americans’ Top Financial Concerns?

By Walter H. Zultowski, Ph.D

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, it should be no surprise that long-term financial worries are a top concern among Americans. In Gallup’s 2014 annual Economy and Personal Finance poll, financial worry topped the list for among Americans ages 30-64.1

In fact, the top three financial concerns among all age groups surveyed were:

  • Not having enough money in retirement
  • Not being able to pay medical costs
  • Not being able to maintain a standard of living they enjoy

While this research highlights differences between young and older Americans, for those ages 50-64 and those 65-plus, financial concerns were fairly similar:

Top three financial concerns among Americans

Percentage very/moderately worried

Presumably, many of the older Americans surveyed have already adjusted to their new stage in life, which explains why they express less concern regarding these issues.

But retirees, or those planning to retire, should also be mindful of the effect that potential reform can have on public and private pension plans. In 2014, state pension plans were underfunded by $4.7 trillion.2 This insufficient funding caused cuts and led to tough decisions about cost of living adjustments to be made to pension plans across the country.

Pension plans are cited as 36 percent of expected retirement income among all U.S. retirees.3

“Regardless of what your retirement plans are, it’s wise to also account for life’s uncertainties and plan for the future.”

In fact, 55 percent of U.S. retirees who receive $50,000 or more in annual income are twice as likely to cite pensions as a major source of their retirement income than those making less; that group cites Social Security as the major source.4

With the desire to stay active in retirement comes the need to adequately fund it. Regardless of what your retirement plans are, it’s wise to also account for life’s uncertainties and plan for the future. When making those plans, be sure to include life insurance.

Life insurance can help address financial concerns, such as those identified in Gallup’s poll, now and through retirement. For instance, life insurance can help protect the income you and your loved ones rely on up to your retirement, and/or if you continue working into your retirement years. Also, in many cases, the cash value accumulated through a whole life insurance policy could be used as a source of funding in retirement, or to cover unexpected expenses or medical bills. Additionally, both term and whole life insurance can help protect your loved ones from financial hardship, and allow them to maintain their standard of living after your passing.

1 Retirement Remains Americans’ Top Financial Worry, Gallup, 2014.

Promises Made, Promises Broken 2014: Unfunded Liabilities Hit $4.7 Trillion, State Budget Solutions, 2014.

3,4 Pensions are Top Income Source for Wealthier U.S. Retirees, Gallup, 2013.

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