These are important questions to ask, as Americans are living longer
than ever before. In fact, for couples aged 65, there is a 50
percent likelihood the husband or wife will live to age 94,
according to the Society of Actuaries. This can mean more years to
enjoy retirement -- if your money lives as long as you do.
A recent study from Northwestern Mutual took a look at Americans'
financial planning (and saving) habits. The data reveals that many
feel financially unprepared to live longer.
Only 56 percent of Americans surveyed say they feel financially
prepared to live to age 75. Less than half (46 percent) indicate
they feel prepared to live to age 85. And only 36 percent say they
feel prepared to live to age 95.
The research also shows that half of Americans take an informal
approach to financial planning -- if they have a plan at all.
Moreover, most feel their planning needs improvement.
"While Americans see the value in setting financial goals, not
everyone has plans to achieve them," says Greg Oberland,
Northwestern Mutual executive vice president. "Developing a plan to
reach your goals provides confidence that you won't outlive your
On the bright side, respondents say they're taking positive steps
to pay down their debt, develop a budget, save a portion of their
paycheck regularly, build up an emergency fund and organize
"These are good first steps to enhance one's current financial
well-being," says Oberland. "But looking at these steps in the
context of a comprehensive plan (that offers flexibility as
circumstances change over time) can help provide long-term financial
In other words, planning can help you manage how long your money
lasts. Keep in mind, a prudent plan should work no matter how long
you live in retirement.
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Here are a few ideas that may help you solidify your financial
1. Consider your own longevity.
Longevity calculators like Northwestern Mutual's lifespan
calculator can help you understand how long you may need your money
2. Reflect on your current state of financial security.
Ask yourself, "Do I feel financially prepared to live a long
life?" Then, put your answer into perspective by playing the "Get
Your Financial Security Score" game. The free mobile game (also
available on Facebook) awards users with customized financial tips
based on responses to a variety of personal finance-related
3. Help your kids develop good "saving" habits early.
Endorsed by the American Library Association as "a great website
for kids," TheMint.org offers games, activities and useful
information for kids, as well as meaningful content for parents and
teachers. By teaching your children the value of money early on, you
reduce the odds they'll need your financial assistance later in
life. That means you can focus on putting more money toward your
4. Start talking about your personal finances.
Meet with an experienced financial professional who can help
tailor a plan to accumulate and protect your financial resources.
Consider how your financial plan today can help you build financial
security for future life events.
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