What is the sign of a good decision?®

It’s gaining control over family finances.

A recent study commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and conducted by Forbes Consulting Group in 2009 titled, State of the American Family:  Families, Financial Attitudes & Planning, explored how parents feel about finances, their families, and ways that they are adapting to meet new challenges.

Wishing for control, but running off course

Most American families want to control their finances. They want to know as much as possible about financial products and services before committing to them, and want to have control over all aspects of their finances.  They often think about looking into various financial products and services that could help them achieve such major life goals as buying a house, saving for college, and preparing for retirement.  However, many family decision makers feel they fall short – they wish they were more in control of their finances.

Despite their intentions, many Americans often feel uncomfortable with how they are doing. Some feel as if they are living month to month as they try to pay off old students loans and save money to buy their own home and, while they acknowledge the need to save towards their retirement, their immediate needs take priority. Others worry about meeting their long-term financial goals, citing a lack of planning. Most feel overwhelmed and concerned about whether they can manage growing expenses, especially while incomes are stagnant. Finally, there are those who face the uncertainties of how they’ll help care for aging parents or recoup the value of retirement savings diminished by the recession.

No matter the stage of life or economic situation, American families struggle with similar concerns in this slow economic growth period: how to prepare and save to maximize financial resources, for now and into the future.

Setting a course

Although the economic downturn since 2008 has taken its toll in a variety of ways – in income, investment value, and home prices – a commitment to sound financial preparation can help minimize and offset exposure to such losses.

Whether caught between providing financial support for children and saving funds for retirement or frustrated by declining availability and access to pension plans or 401(k) employer matches, families at all stages face the challenge of balancing the immediate needs of their complex lives and financial demands with their long-range plans for the future.

Combine these demands with the vast amount of financial data available at the touch of a button, and the result can overwhelm Americans who strive to feel confident that their financial decisions are the best ones for their families.

Guidance from qualified financial professionals can help overcome hesitancy and bring balance to the most challenging of financial circumstances. Working with a financial professional who understands your unique, specific financial needs, can help you to establish key financial goals, make financial decisions a priority, and manage debt.

Gaining control

It’s never too late to gain control and begin preparing for the future.  To learn more or access helpful materials, speak with a local financial professional and visit

 

By Sarah Tolson