Financial concerns crippling consumers

Feb 08, 2012

Worries about money are hurting consumers.

A recent survey from Ipsos Public Affairs found 53 percent of U.S. adults feel they are unprotected financially in regards to savings accounts, emergency funds or life insurance coverage. Plus, 19 percent of adults believe they are severely under protected, and only 46 percent of adults believe their family's finances are secured for the future.

"The survey reinforces what our agents are hearing in their communities: Significant numbers of Americans are concerned that their financial resources are not adequate to meet both the challenges of today's economy and their future obligations, whether that's paying for their children's educations or their own retirements," said Mark Pfaff, executive vice president in charge of U.S. Life Insurance & Agency, New York Life. "This is where knowledgeable advisers can make an enormous difference by helping people plan ahead."

In addition, the survey showed 36 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 feel their family's finances are secure, compared with 51 percent of adults without a child under 18. Demographics feeling the most insecure about their financial situation include 60 percent of recent college graduates and 63 percent of retirees. However, 63 percent of adults over the age of 60 feel their families are financially secure, compared with just 39 percent of adults ages 30 to 59.

Income also affects sentiments of financial protection in the future. The data found 61 percent of adults with a household income of more than $50,000 feel secure about their financial protection, compared to 27 percent of households with less than $50,000 in income.

Senior citizens are demonstrating their lack of financial security by avoiding health-related priorities due to monetary concerns. A survey from The Senior Citizens League found 51 percent of senior citizens will postpone a doctor visit or an outpatient medical service because they are afraid they cannot afford the cost.

The survey showed 61 percent of seniors will put off dentist, optician or hearing specialist appointments due to financial concerns, while 44 percent will hold off on refilling a prescription or lower their daily dosage to make the medicine last longer. In terms of out-of-pocket expenses, 44 percent of seniors will spend at least $300 a month on medical expenses, and 10 percent will spend at least $750.

"This survey makes clear just how hard seniors have been hit during this economic downturn," said Larry Hyland, chairman of The Senior Citizens League. "Due to financial concerns, too many seniors are forced to make life or death decisions regarding their health on a daily basis. It shouldn't be that way, and we're going to continue to pressure Congress to leave their benefits intact."

To fill in the gaps that Medicare and Medicaid programs are leaving senior citizens in terms of medical coverage, consumers may want to consider investing in life insurance products to establish financial stability throughout retirement years. These financial planning products not only protect family members and loved ones in the event of a death, some also have a cash value for extra expenses such as medical bills.

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