The study is based on an online survey of 5,474 American adults ages 18 and older, conducted earlier this year by Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual. The survey results were weighted to U.S. Census Bureau targets for education, age and gender, race and ethnicity, and region and household.
According to Northwestern Mutual, the findings demonstrate that there is a deep disconnect between what Americans know they should do when it comes to their finances and what they're actually doing. For instance, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) consider themselves "savers," but more than half of us (54 percent) have a level of debt that is equal to or exceeds our savings.
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Although many Americans are worried about having enough money during retirement, it appears that only a fraction of us are seeking help when it comes to planning for retirement.
Two in five Americans (43 percent) have not "spoken to anyone," friends and family included, about retirement planning, according to the study. What's more, 21 percent of Americans are "not at all confident" that they will be able to reach their financial goals.
To some financial advisors, the study's findings are distressing but not exactly surprising. Sean Michael Pearson, a certified financial planner and advisor at Ameriprise Financial Services, said many Americans are overwhelmed by the glut of financial information they must sift through in order to make decisions for themselves.