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Technology's distractions could be hindering planning

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The majority of Americans say the pace of society makes sticking with long-term goals difficult, according to a new report.

Northwestern Mutual Mutual Life Insurance Company discloses this finding in “Planning and Progress 2013: Technology and Society,” part three of Northwestern Mutual’s Planning and Progress study. Based on interviews with 1,546 Americans, the survey explores of the state of financial planning in the U.S., how Americans are responding to the pace of society and the current economic and political climate, and assesses their progress in pursuing financial-related objectives.

Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) of the survey respondents say the pace of society makes it harder to stick with long-term goals. More than six in 10 say they feel too busy to think about long-term goals.

Additionally, more than one-quarter of those polled (26 percent) say they either always or often feel too busy to think about long-term goals. And three in 10 say once they’ve set a long-term goal it’s difficult to stick with it and finish.

Technology could be a contributing factor to the lack of planning. More than one in three survey respondents say their electronic/mobile device usage has increased over the past year. The trend is most pronounced among Gen Yers, 43 percent of whom say they have increased their use of technology.

The survey adds that 31 percent are “distracted by the immediacy of technology in society.” The distractions are greatest among the Gen Y (35 percent) and Gen X (36 percent). Only 30 percent of boomers and 24 percent of the “mature generation” are similarly distracted.

While 66 percent of the survey respondents believe that the immediacy of electronic devices is efficient and has provided them with efficiencies for the long term, 34 percent find them distracting, the survey adds.


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