The Retirement Clock Is Ticking: Are Financial Planners Failing Americans?

Opiela, Nancy
August 2003
Journal of Financial Planning;Aug2003, Vol. 16 Issue 8, p34
Academic Journal
The article deals with the failure of financial planners and the financial planning profession to motivate Americans to adequately plan for their retirement. Study after study shows all too clearly that many American workers would not have the means to afford the retirement they envision. For example, the 2003 Retirement Conference Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C., found that nearly a quarter of workers age 45 or older claim they plan to postpone retirement, mainly due to financial or economic concerns. In fact, 61 percent of workers surveyed had not calculated how much money they would need to retire. Perhaps the most alarming finding, at least from the financial planning profession's perspective, is that despite a lack of saving and planning, most Americans believe they are going to be just fine financially, come retirement. Planners and the profession can start to help by first looking at themselves, contend some planners. Eleanor Szymanski, a certified financial planner in Princeton, New Jersey, faults the financial planning profession for making investing so complicated that people shut down and do not try to understand. Szymanski also notes that the profession's long-term view is foreign to most Americans. While it is impossible to expect planners to change human nature, it is possible to study human nature and reposition how one motivate people to save money.


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