Americans tell researchers they want to save more for retirement but their best intentions are falling far short. A first step to improve saving may begin with better budgeting. When LIMRA asks consumers what they need for financial education, a quarter of them say budgeting skills. Among middle market consumers 52 percent listed developing a monthly budget and following it as one of their top financial priorities.
Why put budgeting first? To quote the old business expression, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” For example, among workers who have access to a DC plan but do not contribute to it, half say they cannot afford to save through their company plan. Without a budget to follow, how do they know what they can afford?
When middle market consumers are considering a financial advisor, 77 percent say they want someone who is willing to educate and explain what they don't understand about finances. Today's advisors are expected to know more about clients than just their account balances. Providing help on basic budgeting could go a long way to improving a client's financial outcomes now and in the future.
With the recent fall in gas prices, the Energy Information Administration predicts the average U.S. household will save $550 in gasoline purchases this year. An advisor could illustrate how saving that $550 for 25 years at 5 percent could add nearly $3,000 to a retirement account. At 7 percent, it grows to nearly $5,000. This example serves a larger point that by following a budget, consumers can develop better habits and act on saving opportunities.
LIMRA research consistently shows that most people are concerned about having enough money in retirement. Better budgeting can play an important role toward achieving a secure retirement.