SOURCE: BMO Harris Financial Advisors

December 19, 2013 08:15 ET

BMO Harris Financial Advisors Study: Fewer Than Forty Percent of Arizonans Surveyed Have a Financial Plan

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwired - Dec 19, 2013) -

  • The majority of Arizonans surveyed feel that a financial plan plays a critical role in achieving key life goals, such as saving for a home and being comfortable in retirement
  • Forty-five percent of those surveyed who do not have a financial plan cite lack of money as the reason
  • Thirty-six percent of Arizonans surveyed plan to make a financial New Year's resolution for 2014

According to a study issued today by BMO Harris Financial Advisors, only 38 percent of Arizonans surveyed have a financial plan, yet a majority say expert guidance is important to find investments at the right risk tolerance (66 percent), take advantage of tax breaks for certain investments (73 percent) and make sure investments are diversified (52 percent).

A financial plan helps people work towards their short and long-term goals, providing a roadmap that outlines the path from where they are today to where they want to be in the future. At BMO Harris Financial Advisors, the process begins with a financial advisor reviewing a person's finances -- including assets, liabilities, income, spending habits and investments -- then building a personalized plan that takes these items and risk tolerance into account and fits with the rest of his/her life.

Forty-five percent of those who do not have a financial plan in the state cited lack of money as the primary reason. Thirty-three percent reported that they simply have not consulted anyone about a financial plan.

Regardless, the value of a plan is not overlooked. According to the study, most Arizonans surveyed think a financial plan is important when:

  • Planning for retirement - 92 percent
  • Buying a house or making mortgage payments - 91 percent
  • Purchasing big ticket items such as cars or appliances - 83 percent
  • Having children (including saving for their education) - 72 percent
  • Planning for travel - 67 percent
  • Getting married - 63 percent

Of those who did create a financial plan, 80 percent stated that it has helped them achieve their financial goals, and 55 percent said they wish they would have created a financial plan sooner.

"There's an obvious disparity with financial plans -- most people know they need one, but don't have one," said Larry Skolnik, Regional Sales Manager, BMO Harris Financial Advisors. "No matter your income level, a financial plan can be an essential component to achieving your financial goals and ensuring the fiscal security of you and your family. The New Year presents an ideal opportunity to get your financial house in order."

The study found that 57 percent of those people surveyed in Arizona will be making a 2014 New Year's resolution before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, with financial resolutions accounting for 36 percent of all resolutions made (versus 28 percent nationally). 

Key National Findings

At a national level, the study found that 40 percent of Americans surveyed have a financial plan. Of those, 85 percent reported that their financial plans have helped them achieve their goals, and 61 percent wish they had created a financial plan sooner.

For financial planning, those Americans surveyed feel they need expert assistance with:

  • Finding investments at the right risk tolerance - 58 percent
  • Taking advantage of tax breaks for certain types of investments - 62 percent
  • Making sure investments are diversified - 54 percent

Additionally, respondents nationwide say a financial plan is important when:

  • Planning for retirement - 92 percent
  • Buying a house or making mortgage payments - 86 percent
  • Purchasing big ticket items such as cars or appliances - 80 percent
  • Having children (including saving for their education) - 76 percent
  • Getting married - 71 percent
  • Planning for travel - 64 percent

About BMO Harris Financial Advisors
BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc., offers a comprehensive range of investment advisory products that include financial planning strategies and estate planning strategies to meet the financial needs of high-net-worth clients. Offices are located throughout the U.S and locally in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Carefree, and Tucson. Learn more at www.bmoharris.com/financialadvisors.

BMO Harris Financial Advisors(SM)is a trade name of BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. Securities, investment advisory services and insurance products are offered through BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. SEC-registered investment adviser. BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. and BMO Harris Bank N.A. are affiliated companies. Securities and insurance products offered are: NOT A DEPOSIT - NOT INSURED BY THE FDIC OR ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY - NOT GUARANTEED BY ANY BANK - MAY LOSE VALUE.

Estate planning requires legal assistance which BMO Harris Bank and its affiliates do not provide. Please consult with your legal advisor. 

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 1,001 Americans 18 years of age and over (include 100 Arizona residents), between November 20th and November 26th, 2013. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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