Study: Planning for Retirement and Education Takes a Backseat to Vacation Planning

Jun 24, 2014 No Comments by

ST. LOUIS, June 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – More than one quarter (28 percent) of Americans say they spend more time thinking about vacation planning, compared to planning for retirement (25 percent) or the cost of higher education (22 percent), according to a recent study from financial services firm Edward Jones. The study asked respondents to indicate which activity they spend the most time thinking about from among the following options: vacation planning, planning for retirement, planning for higher education and planning for a big purchase like a new car or home.

“Frankly, we’re not surprised people spend more time thinking about vacations instead of tackling larger challenges such as saving for retirement or higher education, particularly at this time of year,” said Scott Thoma, Retirement Strategist for Edward Jones. “All too often, people don’t prioritize planning and investing for the long-term because it’s 20 to 30 years away, but this is a big mistake. As the number of years to retirement decrease, so do the balance and returns on an investment account. Saving just a little over a long period of time can be much more beneficial than trying to save more at the last minute.”

Age played a significant role in influencing respondents’ answers. The survey found that time spent thinking about planning for retirement increased dramatically with age. A mere nine percent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 34 indicated retirement planning was top of mind. This response rate jumped considerably with each age group to 31 percent (35 to 44), 37 percent (45 to 54) and 40 percent (55 to 64). Not surprisingly, time spent planning for the cost of education decreased with age. The survey’s youngest respondents were much more likely to spend time thinking about higher education costs, with 38 percent indicating so, compared to those ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54, (24 percent and 18 percent, respectively).

The focus on vacation planning generally increased with age as well, with 25 percent of 18-to-34 year-olds saying vacation planning took top priority compared to 35 percent of those 65 or older. Time spent thinking about planning for a big purchase, like a new home or car, decreased with age. More than one quarter (27 percent) of respondents 18-to-34 prioritize this type of planning versus only 11 percent of those between ages 35 and 44.

The number of children in a household also affected respondents’ priorities when it comes to thinking about planning for retirement and the cost of higher education. Those who have children indicated that they spend more time thinking about planning for higher education (28 percent) versus thinking about planning for retirement (19 percent).

“Parents face a major challenge when it comes to navigating the balance between saving for retirement and helping their children with the rising rate of tuition,” continued Thoma. “It is important to prioritize your goals and view them together rather than delaying saving for one goal over another. By understanding how your goals interact, you can work to make sure you don’t inadvertently derail one when saving for another.”

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