Expert: Americans lack "financial education"

May 13, 2011

Americans lack education about their finances, said an expert.

Planning for retirement should be an integral part of any American's financial responsibilities, but many simply lack the knowledge of how to proceed in that regard, said one expert.

Dirk Kempthorne, CEO and president of the American Council of Life Insurers, said the biggest obstacle many soon-to-be retirees face is their own ignorance when it comes to financial planning. Saving strategies, the importance of life insurance, and other important financial information takes a back seat to everyday life, he said, which is why the group supports a proposed bill that would provide workers with an annual assessment of their retirement accounts.

"America is suffering from a financial education deficit disorder. Many workers, especially those approaching retirement, need to develop a better understanding of how to build savings, how to assess their retirement income needs and where to get expert advice," said Kempthorne.

The Lifetime Income Disclosure Act, proposed in the U.S. Senate and House, could aid in that goal. The proposal aims to send an annual disclosure to workers that would provide a picture of how their work-sponsored retirement account would translate into annual or monthly income, giving retirees a visual for how far their savings can get them after they stop working.

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