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Jason: Investing for retirement is a growing goal for younger people

By Julie Jason

King Feature Syndicates

First Published May 14 2014 10:08 am • Last Updated May 14 2014 10:08 am

As I interact with my clients and members of the public through this column and presentations, I am noticing an interest in retirement finance from a much younger demographic than before — certainly much more than when I started working with clients more than 20 years ago.

Young men and women starting their first jobs, recent grads and even college students are asking questions about investing for a goal in the very distant future — a retirement that is decades away.

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As a result, I wasn’t surprised to see a recent survey sponsored by the insurance industry that confirmed my own observations. Sponsored by Life Happens (www.lifehappens.org) and LIMRA (www.limra.org), the 2014 Insurance Barometer Study surveyed 2,047 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 75.

Almost three out of four (74 percent) people surveyed between ages 25 and 44 were "concerned," "very concerned" or "extremely concerned" about "having enough money for a comfortable retirement."

Sixty-nine percent of those under age 25 and 62 percent of those between ages 45 and 64 were similarly concerned.

Only 44 percent of those aged 65 and over felt the same way.

In fact, retirement security ranked as the top concern for all age groups except those 65 and older, for whom it ranked second after concern about the cost of long-term care.

In the four years during which the survey was conducted, having enough money in retirement was ranked as the highest of all financial concerns. In 2014, 64 percent of all age bands as a group were concerned about having enough money for a comfortable retirement.

Returning to the 25-to-44 age band, the other financial concerns ranked as follows:

After retirement security (74 percent) came "supporting myself if disabled and unable to work" (65 percent); "paying for medical expenses" (60 percent); "paying monthly bills" (56 percent); "paying for long-term care services" (51 percent); and "paying my mortgage or rent" (49 percent).

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"Paying off or reducing credit-card debt" ranked eighth at 46 percent. "Paying for a child’s schooling/college" ranked ninth at 42 percent. "Losing money on my investments" ranked 11th at 37 percent.

While paying off student loans was not listed in the survey, we know from other studies that many young adults are burdened with student debt.

The question I have to ask is this: While retirement security is a concern, is it a financial priority?

As this year unfolds, I will be asking you to reach out to me with feedback and questions on this important issue of preparing a more youthful demographic for a secure financial future, including how to set financial priorities.

During the next few months, I will write a series of columns to help young adults prioritize their financial decisions, and save and invest for retirement.

I welcome your ideas on the specific topics that you feel are important to discuss.

If you are a parent or grandparent, please don’t hesitate to send me your views as well.

Older generations have the benefit of experience that they can share — and the benefit of hindsight of not having saved as much as they would have liked during their own working careers. I invite you to share those insights with me for discussion in the column.

If you serve in a leadership or philanthropic capacity with your employer and you think this topic is important for your organization, or you are an educator or a proponent of financial literacy, do reach out to me. I welcome your comments and your involvement in helping young people address their retirement security concerns.

Julie Jason, JD, LLM, a personal money manager (Jackson, Grant of Stamford, Conn.) and award-winning author, welcomes your questions/ comments (readers@juliejason.com).

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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