This brings us to an important finding from a study prepared by New York Life, along with Greenwald & Associates. It recognizes that saving for retirement is part of the holistic view of personal finance. In essence, savings do not occur in a vacuum. The study posits that retirement providers need to understand this premise if they are to effectively help participants: "Simply focusing on retirement planning in our participant education and engagement strategies ignores the complexities of an individual's financial life - and rings hollow and incomplete." The report takes it a step further with this call to action: "To successfully empower individuals to save for retirement, it is imperative that we need tools and advice to support the broad spectrum of their financial lives."
Why does this matter so much? According to the report:
- Nearly 3/4 of participants are stressed or very stressed.
- Financial stress impacts health, productivity, and quality of life.
- 60% are worried about possible financial difficulties.
- Nearly half are worried about affording medical expenses or job loss.
- Women feel more stressed (34%) than do men (22%).
New York Life recommends a holistic approach that helps individuals navigate the various financial challenges. I would take it a step further and have it change according to the needs of the individual. For example, if there is a job loss or unexpected expense, what are the best options for moving forward? How do you face current hurdles alongside future goals?