NU Online News Service, Oct. 26, 2004

Despite fears of not having enough money to cover sudden financial emergencies from a job loss, an unexpected illness or a major home repair, most Americans are unprepared, a new study suggests.[@@]

Relatively few are preparing for future cash crunches or are seeking financial advice to help them with key goals, even from their spouses, according to the National Investment Watch Survey by A.G. Edwards Inc., St. Louis, Mo., an investment firm.

Edwards blames the general lack of preparation on the current economic uncertainty in the U.S., leaving Americans worried about their short-term financial stability but lacking liquid assets to help handle emergencies..

While 72% of survey participants say they are uneasy about having enough cash on hand to cover the unexpected, most have their assets set aside in retirement plans and life insurance, which do not address this need, Edwards notes.

60% said they were concerned about saving enough money to be able to retire when planned. Yet 75% don’t have a financial advisor.

The survey found that those who do have financial advisors tend to plan more and are much more prepared financially.

When asked whom they trust most to give advice about their savings and investment strategy, 35% said they trust themselves. Others relied on external sources such as a financial advisor (17%) or a parent or grandparent (16%). Only 14% chose their spouse, with more women than men picking their spouses.