Twenty-six percent of people say paying bills is their top
financial priority, surpassing the 21% who say saving for retirement is their
No. 1 goal, according to a survey by NeighborWorks America.
For those earning less than $40,000, 35% say that paying bills is their primary concern, and for those earning less than $20,000, this jumps to 49%.
Likewise, lower-income adults are less likely to say that saving for retirement is a top goal. Only 5% of those earning less than $20,000 a year and 7% of those earning less than $40,000 put retirement savings first. However, for those earning more than $100,000, 33% place retirement at the top of their financial goals.
Most people say that if they had a budget, they would be better able to juggle bills
and retirement savings at the same time, but only 39% have a formal budget. College graduates
were more likely (52%) to have a formal budget compared with respondents with a
high school diploma or less (29%) or some college (33%).
Forty-nine percent of people with income greater than $100,000 had a budget, compared with 31% of those earning $20,000 or less, 41% of those earning less than $40,000, 39% of those earning between $40,000 and $59,000 and 39% of people earning between $60,000 and $100,000.
Finn Partners conducted the telephone survey for NeighborWorks among 1,000 adults March 10-14.