October is Financial Planning Month, and a good time for stressed Americans to focus on getting their financial houses in order.
A new study from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors finds that Americans are worried about their finances, and three in four say they would like to get a financial planning do-over.
“With all the uncertainty in the economy right now, it is more important than ever for consumers to have their finances in order,” NAPFA’s chief executive Geoffrey Brown said in a statement. “While none of us can go back in time to change our financial situations, we always have the power to make positive changes for our future.”
The NAPFA study was based on an online survey conducted in July among 2,003 people in the U.S. ages 22 to 64.
The study found that despite their concerns, Americans are hopeful about their retirement options, and they think a financial planner can help.
Sixty-one percent of survey respondents said they wanted guidance on retirement planning, 52% on amassing more savings and 50% on paying off their debts.
At the same time, a third of respondents said they expected their finances to remain a source of stress in the future, and two in five worried that they would not enjoy their later years because of money issues.
Financial Planners There to Help
The survey findings also showed that more than half of respondents had not considered their options for retiring, and one in three did not think they would ever be able to retire.
Nevertheless, around a third of Americans still associated the idea of retirement with the words “dream,” “joy” and “reality.”
NAPFA said that having a financial plan with specific goals can make a big difference in how consumers spend their time now and in the future.
According to the survey, 37% of participants believed that working with a financial planner would make them feel secure. Twenty-eight percent said doing so would make them feel empowered, and 26% said it would excite them.
“The right guidance and professional advice can help make financial planning feel approachable,” Brown said. “With 54% of Americans not knowing where to look for a financial planner, it is our job to make it easy for them.”
NAPFA noted in its statement that fee-only financial planners work with clients on goal setting, cash management, tax planning, investing, estate planning, insurance needs, education funding and retirement planning.