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NORTHBROOK, Ill. -Think retirement savings is a priority for your members? Guess again because the old adage “actions speak louder than words” applies and presents credit unions with the opportunity to fill the needed role of trusted advisor and educator. According to a recent Allstate Financial poll, 93% of Americans surveyed said they believe it is up to individuals to ensure their own financial security during retirement. Yet as many as 70% of this same group said that present financial obligations preclude them from saving as much as they would like for the years ahead. While survey respondents recognized they should be saving and investing more than they currently do for their retirement, 57% admitted that paying bills and expenses is the main barrier for not doing so. According to Allstate Financial President Casey Sylla, consumers must be reminded that there will never be a perfect time to begin saving and that there is no “financial aid” when it comes to retirement. Sylla says that in 2002 alone nearly $170 billion of “found money” from refinancing loans to tax returns was used to directly finance more spending, on everything from home improvements to vehicle purchases, vacations and even general living expenses. “Whether you are just starting out in your first home, have a new baby or are sending the kids off to college, there will always be other financial priorities,” said Sylla. “Yet it’s crucial for people to understand that they must make saving for their own retirement a top priority.” According to the Allstate survey, another key barrier to saving is having “too little income” or “lack of money” (40%). But when asked what would motivate them to save and invest more for retirement, respondents were most likely to cite outside sources including higher income/better employer programs (32%). Only 8% indicated that they could save and invest more by reducing their expenses. The poll finds that the most popular retirement investment vehicle is the 401k (42%), followed by mutual funds (26%) and IRAs (22%).

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