The latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll finds 32% of “younger” Americans believe paying off credit card and student loan debt is the best use of the money they have right now.
The survey classified respondents into two groups, including “younger” Americans who are ages 18 to 24 and those ages 25 to 29 who answered that they were still “getting started” in life. “Older” Americans are age 30 and older and those ages 25 to 29 who did not consider themselves to be still getting started.
There were several other financial priorities that ranked above saving for retirement for younger survey respondents. Twenty-one percent said building an emergency financial fund is the best use of their money, while 15% selected “saving ahead for major purchases like a car,” 14% chose “saving to buy a home or paying off a mortgage,” and 10% picked “investing in a retirement account.”
Forty-five percent of younger respondents indicated they have student loan debt compared to 28% of older respondents who had student loan debt when they were first getting started.
When it comes to saving for retirement, investing and managing debt, nearly half of younger respondents (46%) indicated they know what they should be doing and they are following a plan. But, more than one-third (36%) said they know what they should be doing, but can’t afford it, and 15% said they don’t know what they should be doing financially.
Asked what would be the most helpful source of financial advice, half of younger participants said financial education in public schools, and more than one-quarter said financial education classes in the community. Only 12% said a professional financial adviser would be the most helpful source of financial advice, and only 6% chose their employers.
The most common “ideal age to retire” selected among younger respondents was age 60 to 65, selected by 43%. One third think they will be able to retire in this age range, while 34% expect to retire at age 65 or later. Nine percent said they expect to never retire.
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