Financial Planning: Getting Past Getting By

Financial planners insist that people need to plan for – and invest in – the future. But first people need to pay the bills.

A new poll from Bankrate finds that many Americans have difficulty getting past this first step. In fact, their top financial priority is managing their bills.

For 38% of Americans, staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on the bills is their highest financial priority (38%). This is followed by paying down debt (21%), and saving (18%).

Notice how far behind “saving” is as a priority? Bankrate said that this is the 4th consecutive year that keeping up with bills has emerged as the top priority.

However, there is some hope: Bankrate said that The Financial Security Index rebounded to 103.4, the highest level since June.

And for the first time, Americans’ comfort level with savings reached a break-even point, after years of under-confident readings stretching back to December 2010.

Perhaps the economy has turned a corner – at least well enough that more Americans will get past getting by, and have the confidence (and the money) to focus more on the future.

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