Comprehensive Financial Planners are Better Off

Comprehensive Financial Planners are Better Off

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October is Financial Planning month. Why should we pay attention to financial planning? A report by Princeton Survey Research Associates International [1] reveals that there is a direct correlation between affluence and financial planning. The Household Financial Planning Survey and Index looked at the financial planning habits of American families and evaluated the lifestyles and demographic of each group.

The survey included nine areas of financial planning:

  • identifying financial goals
  • analyzing spending
  • budgeting
  • reviewing investments
  • debt management
  • saving for emergencies and retirement
  • insurance coverage
  • setting up wills or trusts


The report revealed that 19 percent of American households are comprehensive planners, 38 percent are basic planners, 33 percent are limited planners, and just 10 percent do no financial planning at all.

Comprehensive Planners: This group is the most affluent and also the most confident about their money management.  They’re making a determined effort to get it right. Their priority is to protect their assets and be financially prepared for any situation that might arise. One of the differentiating factors is that two-thirds of this group has sought assistance from a certified financial planner or investment advisor. Although they have credit card debt, it is well-managed, and 92 percent have a plan in place to address the issue.

Basic Planners:  This group is described as the “typical” American household in the middle income range.  While they have a plan to save for goals such as college, retirement, or buying a home, they feel they are behind where they ought to be. They lack a comprehensive financial plan to cover all eventualities.  Just over half (55%) have a retirement plan in place, but only 38% have an emergency fund, and 20 percent have significant credit card debt.

Limited Planners:  This group tends to be below average in terms of education, and they are more likely to be single, unemployed, or work part-time (only 38% have a full-time job).  They have limited financial resources, and most are living paycheck-to-paycheck. They’ve managed to save at least some money toward specific financial goals and feel somewhat confident about their money management.

Non–Planners: They share a similar income level with Limited Planners and are struggling to pay basic expenses. They lack confidence in their ability to manage their money.  Credit card debt is a problem, and few of them have a plan to pay down the debt.  Ninety-two percent have no future financial goals like retirement, emergencies, or a child’s college education.

This report clearly shows that there is a correlation between financial literacy, financial planning, and lifestyle.  One could argue that it is a “chicken and egg” situation, but there is no doubt that increasing your knowledge of financial issues, taking control of your finances, and putting a comprehensive plan in place will help improve your life.


Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.


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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website:

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Jake Mendlinger
Account Manager
516.829.8374 X 232

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