Financial Planning

The latest NAPFA consumer survey shows Americans are overwhelmingly stressed about their current and future finances.

  • 74% of American wish they could get a financial planning “do over” to set up a better financial situation.
  • Top 3 financial goals respondents think they could benefit by having a financial planner

61% - Planning for retirement

52% - Greater savings

50% - Paying off debts

Looking ahead, 34% think finances will stress them out in the later years of life; 26% feel they have just enough to get by without working and 22% feel they won’t be able to enjoy retirement due to money problems.

  • More than half (54%) of respondents have not yet considered their options for retiring.
  • 53% of women surveyed said they would describe their relationship with money as stressful, compared to 37% of men.
  • 50% of Millennials surveyed said they would describe their relationship with money as stressful, compared to 44% of Gen Xers and 37% of Baby Boomers.
  • 37% of respondents think they’d feel secure about their financial situation if they started working with a professional financial planner. 28% think they’d feel empowered and 26% think they’d feel excited.

According to a 2019 AARP consumer survey unexpected financial challenges are a common occurrence.

  • Just under half of adults ages 30 and older experienced an unexpected financial challenge in the past year — and the majority experienced more than one challenge.
  • Unexpected financial challenges can happen to anyone, regardless of their income level, generation, gender, or race/ethnicity.
  • The median cost of an unexpected financial challenge ranges between $3,000 and $4,000. Higher median costs are even higher in household incomes of $75,000 or more.
  • To help resolve their unexpected financial challenge, a majority made financial tradeoffs like cutting back on expenses and tapping into savings; three in five delayed paying some of their bills and half worked more hours or took other actions to supplement their income.

Despite these survey results, the outlook isn’t all grim: Americans are hopeful about their retirement options and believe a financial planner can help. It’s important to look for Fee-Only financial planners, who act as fiduciaries, meaning they put the client’s interest ahead of their own acting in the client’s interests at all times.

Your Fee-Only financial planner will help you identify your short and long-term goals, and map out the path that will get you there by guiding the actions you can take to help manage your financial future such as:

  • Don’t waste time regretting you didn’t save earlier- start saving as soon as possible.
  • Creating a written budget and monitoring your budget each month.
  • Estimating what you’ll need for retirement income so you can plan for the future now.
  • Allocating funds for the expansion of your family or an unforeseen emergency
  • Calculating the amount of mortgage debt you can afford to carry
  • The amount of monthly savings needed to reach your financial target

Whether it’s creating a budget, paying off debt or saving more, you can find a Fee-Only advisor to help with your planning needs by visiting NAPFA’s Find an Advisor portal.


Atomik Research. 2019 Online Consumer Survey: A NAPFA Survey of Adults 22-64. Washington, D.C., July 22-24, 2019.

Williams, Alicia R. Coping with an Unexpected Financial Challenge: An AARP Survey of Adults 30+. Washington, DC: AARP Research, November 2019.

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