Times Are Hard, But It Could Be Worse

While the current state of the economy and market is taking a toll on Americans’ finances, a new study from ING finds other factors would hurt individual’s finances more.

The worst financial scenario for most respondents would be having their savings stolen because of fraud/theft (77% say it would have an extremely or very negative impact). Sixty-seven percent of Americans surveyed indicated their death or the death of their spouse or partner would most negatively impact their family’s financial future.

Of 15 events or scenarios listed, falling home prices, a stock market crash, Social Security becoming insolvent, an economic recession, a pay cut, and higher interest rates on loans and mortgages all ranked as having less of a negative impact on respondents’ financial future than their death or the death of their spouse or partner.

Life Insurance

Nearly a quarter of the 86% of people who thought they should have life insurance, do not have it, the press release said.

The survey also found younger Americans tend to see life insurance as playing a bigger role in wealth protection and wealth accumulation than do older Americans. Younger respondents indicated they look to life insurance for taking care of a wider range of needs, including funeral costs, children’s future education costs, and several years of household expenses.

Respondents who have life insurance primarily consulted with an insurance agent or financial adviser about how much life insurance they needed (33%), which is significantly more than those who consulted with friends or family members or who chose a standard life insurance option available through work, ING said.

The survey found a majority of respondents (58%) say they do a better job saving and protecting their money than their parents do or did; and even more (65%) say they do a better job saving and protecting money than their friends and acquaintances.

Commissioned by ING and conducted by Ipsos in late 2007 and early 2008, the ING Life Insurance Study included more than 1,000 randomly-selected participants.