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Poll finds financial stability is Americans' top goal

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"Getting ahead" just isn't as sexy as "staying even," according to a recent Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger Survey of Family Finances. The poll found that three in five Americans (59 percent) named maintaining financial stability as their top financial goal.

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The desire for financial stability has increased dramatically over the past two turbulent years. Just two in five respondents (41 percent) said maintaining financial stability was their top goal two years ago.

"The clear message from this survey is at least over the short-term, people have changed their financial expectations," said Patrick Egan, Thrivent Financial director, Asset Management, for Thrivent Financial.

Women were slightly more likely than men to say maintaining financial stability was most important, 61 percent vs. 56 percent.

The survey found that the desire to maintain stability increased steadily with age. Fifty percent of young adults ages 18-24 stated maintaining financial stability was their top goal. This compared to 53 percent of those ages 25-34, 56 percent of those ages 35-44, 60 percent of those ages 45-54 and 63 percent of those ages 55-64. Sixty-nine percent of seniors, ages 65+, named financial stability as their top financial priority.

Show me the money

Not everyone was content to maintain the financial status quo. Younger adults--the group likely to have fewer assets--were apt to say their top financial goal was to increase their assets and wealth. Three in 10 adults ages 18-24 and one in three adults ages 25-34 said their top goal was to grow their money. This compared to 22 percent of those ages 35-44 and 45-54, 18 percent of those ages 55-64, and 13 percent of those ages 65 or more.

The survey also found that the more income respondents had, the more likely they were to desire to increase their money. Eighteen percent of those having an income of less than $25,000 said that increasing assets/wealth was their top financial goal compared to 28 percent of those earning $75,000 or more.

Those ages 45-54 (14 percent) and those making less than $25,000 (14 percent) were most likely to say protection against loss was their financial priority.

"The foundation of all financial management is having clear goals and an action plan identifying the specific steps necessary to reach them," says Egan. "Whether a person's primary financial goal is protection, maintenance or growth, products and services exist to help people make the most of their money."

Related information

More information from the Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger Survey of Family Finances is available in the June 2010 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine as well as online at kiplinger.com/links/moneysurvey and thrivent.com/moneysurvey.

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