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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently published a first of its kind view into the state of financial well-being in America based on data collected in late 2016.  Being a financial advisor to individuals I consider to be upper middle class or wealthy, it disturbs me when I read reports that outline the sad state of financial preparedness for retirement across our country. A friend of mine who lives in Jacksonville, FL commented to me this weekend that we grew up and live in a bubble compared to the rest of the country and reports like these tend to highlight those disparities.

Here’s a few key findings from the report:

  1. There is a wide variation in how people in the U.S feel about their financial well-being. The average score from 0-100 was 54. However, a third of all adults have scores below 50, a third have scores between 51 and 60 and a third have scores at 61 or above. Individuals with scores below 50 have a high probability of struggling to make ends meet and are experiencing hardship.
  2. Savings and financial cushions provide the greatest differentiation between people with different levels of financial well-being. Those with savings below $250 averaged a score of 41. This highlights the importance of savings and safety nets in helping people feel financially secure and is one of the basic elements of financial well-being.
  3. Higher levels of financial know-how, confidence, and certain day-to-day money management behaviors appear to have strong and positive relationships with financial well-being
  4. Many financial and demographic characteristics are associated with financial well-being, but several are not. For example:
    1. Employment status, income and educational attainment are related to financial well-being.
    2. Older adults, especially those over 65 appear to have a stronger relationship with financial well-being.
    3. However, there is no difference based on U.S region, between men and women and relatively small differences between various races/ethnic groups.

In the end, we cannot control the way we are raised or the financial circumstances we are born into. However, this report lays a groundwork for how we can empower people to take control of their financial lives. It shows me that by being financially disciplined and striving to learn and be an educated consumer is the most powerful thing a consumer can do. While as a financial professional, I can provide a great experience to help clients feel knowledgeable and confident.

As a financial planner, my job is to educate and build effective money management behaviors in my clients to help them feel financially secure. Unfortunately, it seems our country has a long way to go.

The entire report can be viewed here: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/financial-well-being-america/
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Steve joined Planning Solutions Group in 2015 and specializes in providing comprehensive financial plans to upper middle-class and high-net worth individuals and families. During his career he has realized that his true passion is for building long-term relationships with clients and helping them through the various financial challenges they may face, such as purchasing a new home, saving for college, planning for retirement and making sure family is protected in the event of a sudden emergency. Steve’s mission is to act as a true advocate for his client’s financial well-being. To achieve this mission, he works with his clients to define their financial, professional and life goals. Once defined he coordinates their various professional relationships with attorneys, CPAs and insurance advisors into a cohesive strategy that is aligned to achieve these goals.  Steve can be reached at: sstern@psgplanning.com