April Monthly Newsletter: 86% of Americans Are Stressed About Their Finances

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A recent, nationwide survey of approximately 1,000 adults found that 86% of those surveyed indicated they are experiencing stress relating to their finances.[1]  Why is this important? According to that same survey, nearly half of those who indicated they are experiencing financial stress believe their stress hinders their ability to make financial decisions. Not only are an overwhelming majority of those surveyed stressed about their finances, but when it’s time to make a financial decision, their stress is preventing them from making a decision which may be in their best interest.

The good news – 75% of those surveyed with stress responded favorably to several methods to help reduce their financial stress, including: having a deeper knowledge of finance in general (22%); having a better understanding of their financial situation (14%); and having more time to focus on their finances (12%). The #1 answer shouldn’t surprise anyone – having a financial plan (27%). But when the survey respondents were asked how they cope with their financial stress, only 5% indicated they contact a financial professional! 

Why is this number so low? Either the respondents like living with stress that affects their financial decision making or they haven’t seen the results of the Household Financial Planning Survey, which examined approximately 1,500 American households’ financial priorities, savings and preparedness on a series of financial goals and explores the impact of financial planning on household financial decision makers’ outlook and outcomes across a range of incomes.[2] The survey found:

  • Planners are more likely to feel on pace to meet all of their financial goals
  • Planners feel more confident about managing money, savings and investments than non-planners across all income levels, and are more likely to describe themselves as living comfortably
  • Planners report more success, including saving a higher percentage of their income and building greater wealth than non-planners

If you still don’t think you need a financial plan, consider the recent results of the America Saves Week survey, a sample of approximately 1,000 American adults in January 2017.[3]

  • 88% of respondents with a financial plan are reducing consumer debt or are debt-free
  • 82% of respondents with a financial plan have sufficient emergency savings
  • 86% of respondents with a financial plan are spending less than their income and are saving the difference

Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month[4]? If you’re experiencing financial stress (and frankly, who isn’t after tax season?) and want to proactively reduce your stress levels, contact your advisor and make a plan today!

Looking for additional information before you meet with your advisor? Check out some of our planning resources:

 

 

Are you stressed about your finances? Contact your advisor to develop a plan today!

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Monthly Investment Review: March 2017

Historically speaking, March has been one of the highest returning months on the calendar. The S&P 500 has averaged a 2.70% return for the month over the past ten years and, with markets on a tear since the 2016 election, history appeared ready to repeat itself. However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both down in March, posting returns of -0.72% and -0.04%, respectively. The NASDAQ Composite, on the other hand, returned 1.48% over the same period, besting the two large-cap stock indices. In addition, crude oil experienced some volatility as OPEC declined to publicly extend the production cuts, choosing instead to push the decision to its next meeting. Oil fell on the news, dropping below the psychologically significant level of $50 per barrel before rebounding towards the end of the month. Despite OPEC’s effort to reduce supply, demand continues to stay relatively muted which is weighing on prices. Also during the month, Congress voted against President Trump’s changes to the Affordable Health Care Act, sending our domestic markets down more than 1% and snapping a low-volatility streak that lasted more than 100 days. Across the Atlantic, the UK finally made its formal request to leave the European Union. By triggering Article 50, Britain is granted two years to negotiate an exit deal. Once set in motion, the action cannot be undone without a unanimous vote from the member parties. Surprising many, Britain has posted extremely favorable economic indicators since the announcement was made last June. Still, there remains significant uncertainty over the near term and we expect the region to remain volatile throughout the negotiations.


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