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Ignoring Finances Puts Retirees at Risk

wallet-empty-111215-02 Credit: Dreamstime.com

It may be time to dust off the parable of the grasshopper and the ant, and give society's older folks a good talking to about fiscal prudence. According to a new survey, Americans continue to make their personal finances a low priority, even as traditional retirement programs and pension plans become dim memories. In the worst-case scenario, retirees run the risk of running out of money to live on before they run out of life.

A staggering 84 percent of American said they will not include financial planning in their resolutions for 2013, according to a survey sponsored by Allianz Life Insurance Company of more tha1,000 respondents. That is the highest percentage in the survey's four-year history, exceeding the 80 percent who neglected personal financial planning in 2012 and the 67 percent who did so in the inaugural 2009 survey.

For the fourth consecutive year, the top reason for leaving financial planning out of resolutions was the respondents' belief that they "don’t make enough to worry about it" (32 percent). Twenty-six percent, however, said they already "have a solid financial plan," while 20 percent attributed their decision to the fact that they "don’t have an advisor/financial professional." Those two responses both rose 3 percent from the 2011 survey.

For the second straight year "health/wellness" topped list of priorities (44 percent) for the upcoming year. Resolutions about paying more attention or sticking to "exercise/diet" plans also appeared frequently, at 44 percent, besting "managing money better" (41 percent) and "spending more time with family/friends" (26 percent).

"It’s alarming that Americans’ willingness to ignore financial planning in their New Year’s Resolutions continues to go up year after year," said Katie Libbe, vice president of consumer insights for Allianz Life.

"With the responsibility for retirement security shifting from employers to individuals, people need to become more, not less active with financial planning to ensure they have enough money to fund a retirement that could last up to 30 years.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.