Financial Planning Insights: Don’t Neglect Your Financial Health

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You’ve probably never equated financial planning with going to the doctor. But in a new study, four out of 10 people say that financial planning is like going to the doctor for a medical checkup.

This is one of many interesting results from the survey, which was conducted by Northwestern Mutual and released late last year. For example, seven out of 10 people say that their financial planning needs improvement, and eight out of 10 people say they believe that financial responsibility requires sticking to a budget with no deviation.

“Not My Favorite Thing, But…”

More specifically, the people who compared financial planning with a medical checkup said that “it’s not my favorite thing in the world, but I know it needs to get done.” Meanwhile, about one in five people (18 percent) say that they love financial planning and are “excited and inspired” by it.

On the flip side of the coin, four out of ten people expressed negative emotions about financial planning. For example:

  • 17 percent are worried and nervous about confronting the financial details of their life.
  • 9 percent prefer not to deal with financial planning until they have no choice but to do so.
  • 9 percent are frustrated and annoyed with their financial situation.
  • 5 percent are skeptical about the value of financial planning.

A Northwestern Mutual director of planning viewed the survey results as a mixed bag. While acknowledging that a large percentage of people “default to a position of avoidance or frustration” when it comes to financial planning, “the fact that most Americans think their planning needs to be better is evidence that there’s a will to improve,” she said.

Types of Financial Planners

One question in the survey asked respondents what type of financial planner they are. About a third (37 percent) said they are “informal” planners, while another third (33 percent) said they are “disciplined” planners. Sixteen percent of respondents said they are highly disciplined financial planners, while 14 percent said they are not planners at all and have not established any financial planning goals.

While a third of respondents identify themselves as disciplined financial planners, about the same number (34 percent) say they have never spoken to anyone about financial planning. When asked what are the biggest obstacles to achieving financial security, the most common responses were:

  • A lack of savings (48 percent)
  • High healthcare costs (48 percent)
  • The economy (35 percent)
  • A lack of planning (29 percent)
  • Uncertainty about Social Security (29 percent)

Based on these responses, the Northwestern Mutual director of planning stressed that it’s not too late to get financial plans back on track even if you’ve never planned before. “By doing so, people can take more control of their lives, make informed decisions, and begin to feel more financially fit,” she said.

In particular, she emphasizes that financial plans should be flexible and adaptable. Financial planning “shouldn’t be approached as an overly rigid or static exercise,” she said. “It’s important to remember the aim of a plan is to allow you to live the life you want to live.”

Maintain Good Financial Health

One of the best ways to stay physically healthy is to visit the doctor once a year for a medical checkup. And one of the best ways to keep your finances healthy is to meet with your financial advisor regularly to keep your finances on track.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help you maintain good financial health.


The commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to Frontier Wealth Management, LLC's ("Frontier") investment advisory services. This information should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy or a recommendation for any security, market sector or investment strategy. There is no guarantee that the information supplied is accurate or complete. Frontier is not responsible for any errors or omissions, and provides no warranties with regards to the results obtained from the use of the information. Nothing in this document is intended to provide any legal, accounting or tax advice and Frontier does not provide such advice. This information is subject to change without notice and should not be construed as a recommendation or investment advice. You should consult an attorney, accountant or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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