Retirement Ranks High among Financial Goals

June 20, 2011 ( - According to a national study just released by Northwestern Mutual, when asked what areas people set goals in, financial goals come out on top (72%).

Among financial goals, the desire for long-term protection is clear, Northwestern said in a press release.  

Financial goals cited include:  

  • Maintaining a comfortable standard of living during retirement (78% reporting 7 or higher on a scale of 1-10); 
  • Not falling below your current standard of living (73%); 
  • Protecting your income in the event of a disability (60%); 
  • Protecting your family’s standard of living in the event that the household breadwinner passes way unexpectedly (55%); 
  • Building a sizable investment portfolio (47%); 
  • Making a major purchase such a car, boat or furniture (30%); and 
  • Financing your children’s college education (29%).  


Three out of four Americans (74%) said the pace of today’s society is making it harder for them to focus and remain on track toward achieving long-term goals. However, the research – called the Stick With It study – also reveals how some people are successfully remaining focused over time.   

The number one strategy that works is “setting small interim goals,” with nearly seven out of 10 people (67%) reporting this as a key step to ensure a long-term goal is achieved. The two next most common strategies are “allowing yourself to make mistakes” (62%) and “holding yourself accountable” (60%).  

When asked what areas people feel they could use more self-discipline in, financial came in second (47%) behind fitness/diet (62%).  

Independent research firm Market Probe conducted the online survey of 1,000 Americans ages 25 or older between March 4 and March 15, 2011.