When I speak with clients, I always talk about making sound financial decisions. I urge them to not base their choices on faulty logic or misinformation. I want them to take the emotion out of their decisions. By taking emotion out of the financial decision-making process, they can take a hard look at the numbers, which often helps things become much more clear.
I find the financial industry to be riddled with terminology designed to confuse the general population. With acronyms that no one can explain, multiple terms all meaning the same thing, and names that appear to be pulled from thin air, it can seem like the financial world is speaking a totally different language.
If you are a regular Phil's Phacts reader, you have probably noticed that I end some columns with the statement "be vigilant and stay alert." I do believe that is some of the best advice I can give with respect to creating a sound financial system. I teach and preach that same mantra to my clients and, therefore, encourage them to read a lot and question even more.
The other day while I was driving, I thought about a recent report I read concerning Americans and their IRAs. According to the TIAA-CREF annual survey on individual retirement accounts and Americans’ savings habits, only 8 percent responded that making contributions to their IRA is a priority with their retirement savings. This is probably because the #1 motivation for saving money relates to short-term expenses—like housing, appliances or a car—rather than saving for retirement.