The financial worries of Americans and what if YOU hit the lottery

We’re going to start with some not so great news, but end with a little “wouldn’t that be great” kind of news. 

Other than the very rich, or the 1% as they are sometimes referred, the rest of us have real financial concerns that the financial meltdown of six years ago has only made worse.  It’s not like Americans are known for saving in the first place, but this recession has really hurt the retirement goals of millions of Americans, primarily due to the decreased home values that many people now face.

Aaaah! Finances cause a lot of headaches.

So as Americans worry over their stagnant or decreased wages, falling home value and rising petroleum costs, there is one other major worry.  Let’s call it the white elephant in the room.  It’s the cost of health care.  No one seems exactly sure how the Affordable Care Act will affect them, except for apprehension that rates are going to go up.

That’s a lot of financial concern, that’s for sure.  This apprehension was a catalyst for Harris to conduct some research into the current financial picture of Americans.

In the summer of 2012 Harris conducted a poll of more than 2,300 adults to find out how they were progressing financially.

Overall there are some big fears out there.  74% of those polled worry about having enough money to retire; 73% worry about affording healthcare in retirement; 71% worry about unexpected health care costs.  Additionally, only 40% of non-retired persons believe that social security will be there when they retire.

63% of those surveyed say that they are saving some money; of those 62% say that they are saving in the event of an emergency, but only 53% say they are saving for retirement.
Other reasons given for saving include college education and the purchase of a new car.
In addition to these basic questions there was one that clearly illustrates how financial concerns change as we age.  The question was,

“If you won the lottery or received an inheritance of $100,000 today, what would you be most likely to do with that money?”

18-35 year olds

36-47 year olds

48-66 year olds

Pay off debts   

55%

73%

60%
Save for a rainy day

36%

37%

45%
Save for retirement

20%

32%

46%

Go on vacation

19%

17%

19%

Buy a house

19%

17%

10%

Go back to school

15%

5%

2%

The largest difference in sheer numbers is the “save for retirement” response.  230% of 18-35 year olds would save for retirement, while 46% of 48-66 year olds would use the money for retirement.  This of course makes perfect sense.  As I get closer to retiring my conerns about whether or not I have enough for retirement becomes a much bigger concern.

What would you do with $100,000?

But by the largest percentage difference between what younger people would spend their money on vs. older is education.  This again makes perfect sense as education is an investment of sorts for younger people.  It is a luxury and far more like a hobby to those older than 50.

So what would you do with an extra $100,000?  Write back and tell us.

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