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Almost all U.S. households create a financial game plan to ensure that ends meet during inevitable struggles with money.
Yet, as anyone who makes a game plan knows, even the most detailed, thorough outlines can fail when real life circumstances intervene.
Just ask the thousands of Americans suffering while tornadoes and flooding continue hammering the U.S. South and Midwest regions, leaving whole towns of people homeless and jobless.
The rising Mississippi River has swept through an area that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon described as "literally the most productive part of our continent," meaning farmers have watched their only sources of income wash away in floodwaters.
Farmer Bryan Feezor said so many submerged fields can make anyone "sick to your stomach."
"Farming is all I ever have done … and it's under water," Feezor told CNN affiliate KPLR. "I really don't know (what I'm going to do)."
Many U.S. households rely on insurance payments, savings accounts and other financial assets to bail them out when times get tough. But not every household has its back-up plan available to them since tapping that source to survive the financial crisis.
Now Americans are struggling to get their financial game plan back on track amid a weak global economic recovery, volatile stock market and discouraging job market. Higher energy and food prices also have led to increased household spending, and rising costs concern many U.S. workers they won't have enough money to retire when they are eligible.
A recent nationwide public opinion research study by the National Institute of Retirement Security found that 54% of those polled are very concerned about the effect of economic conditions on their ability to have a secure retirement. About 78% felt the average worker was unable to save enough on his or her own to guarantee retirement.
So many Americans have created a new plan to prepare for retirement: never retire.
Another survey by the non-profit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found 39% of people said they'll work past age 70 or simply never retire. About 40% of workers said the recession will force them to work longer than planned – up from 28% who said that a year ago.
But these workers' new financial game plan of forever working is far from unassailable.
"Planning not to retire is not a retirement strategy," Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center, told MarketWatch. "Too often, life's unforeseen circumstances can dictate otherwise, be it through a job loss, health issues or life's other obligations."
This brings us to next week's Money Morning "Question of the Week": Are you confident in your financial game plan? Do you feel you/your household is well prepared to survive a weak economy? What is your biggest concern about how your financial plan could fail? How have you adjusted it recently to account for changes in the economy?
We reserve the right to edit responses for length, grammar and clarity.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate – via e-mail or by posting their comments directly on the Money Morning Web site.]
News and Related Story Links:
- Money Morning:
Retirement Concerns Plague U.S. Baby Boomers
Massive flooding extends across American South, Midwest
- National Institute on Retirement Security:
Pensions and Retirement Security 2011: A Roadmap for Policy Makers
- 12th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey:
The New Retirement: Working
People plan to work into their 70s or later
- Money Morning News Archive:
Question of the Week Feature