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Delving Deeper into Family Structure and Finances

The LoveFamilyMoney study uncovered a wealth of information about the unique characteristics and motivators of today's modern American family. Below you will find some of those insights. The Allianz market research team is reviewing the data to uncover more findings that can help financial professionals better understand their clients. Check back as we release additional data from this landmark study in the coming months.

Despite a stronger economy, today's American families, and in particular "modern" families with a nontraditional structure, are struggling in ways never seen before. Even though 85% of the more than 4,500 Americans polled in LoveFamilyMoney identify themselves as "middle class," – a status that has traditionally afforded a level of financial security – a staggering 57% of modern families say that they are either "making ends meet," "struggling financially," or "poor," a full 10 percentage points higher than their traditional family counterparts.

Despite the fact that they may be perceived as the most “untraditional” among all family types, same-sex couple families with kids are emerging leaders when it comes to success with their finances, according to the Allianz LoveFamilyMoney Study of 4,500 Americans. In the study, same-sex couple families were the only modern family type that included respondents with and without kids because of their developing and unprecedented family structure.

When it comes to saving for the future, many of today’s single parents are placing a higher emphasis on saving for their children’s education than funding their own retirement. When asked about their motivation for developing and executing a long-term financial plan, nearly half (45%) of single-parent respondents identified “saving for my kids’ education” versus only 26% of other modern families and 39% of traditional families. However, this savings strategy is proving problematic for these single parents, as more than three-quarters (76%) said that preparing for retirement and their child’s college expenses at the same time causes them a great deal/some stress.

Despite the complex financial situations of today's modern families, a surprising number have never used a financial professional (57%) and many are using non-professional resources, such as family members, significant others, friends, or colleagues to help them plan for their financial future. While many American families are feeling financially strained, the unique dynamics of modern families have created particular challenges that could benefit from the assistance of a financial professional. Yet, Allianz found that only a small portion (25%) of modern families are currently working with a professional despite the fact that 73% report experiencing a financial hardship of some kind as an adult.

The Brady Bunch painted an enviable picture when it came to the blended family – happy, well off (even affording a live-in maid) and facing only trivial life problems. The reality for today's blended family – especially when it comes to finances – is decidedly less idyllic. According to LoveFamilyMoney, today's blended families paint a challenging picture of their financial well-being. The study found that blended families average only $158,600 in savings/investable assets, compared to $264,300 for traditional families.

Many modern families are feeling financially stressed due to their non-traditional structure, but some welcome the pressure in exchange for closer family ties, according to LoveFamilyMoney. More than a third of Multi-Generational and Boomerang family types (Multi-Gen 41%; Boomerang 34%) said they "often feel financially-burdened by the number of family members living in our household" compared to an average of 22% for other modern families in the study, which includes same-sex couple families, single parent families, blended families and families with older parents with younger children.

Women's roles may have evolved, but women in modern families still report surprisingly traditional concerns and behaviors when it comes to finances, according to the Allianz LoveFamilyMoney Study of 4,500 Americans. Modern family women openly discuss and jointly manage family finances while at the same time report being more financially stressed than modern family men suggesting that this increased involvement is taking an emotional toll on women.

Rather than coming from a lifetime of privilege, Americans who plan to retire early were found to share a few key traits that are helping them reach their early retirement goals. More than a quarter (26%) of the 3,449 currently employed people in the study said they plan to retire before they turn 65, with many in this group setting themselves up for success through connecting with a like-minded partner, willingness to talk about their finances, and use of their parents' financial success as a benchmark.

The majority of Americans believe they have a better chance for success in retirement planning with the help of a financial professional, according to the Allianz LoveFamilyMoney of 4,500 Americans from varying family types. More than nine out of 10 (92%) respondents who indicated they have used a financial professional in the past said they believe the relationship is helping them achieve their financial goals, and 86% note that financial professionals can relieve the pressure of trying to plan for their family's financial future by themselves.

Parents who wait to have their first child may do so to be financially established before starting a family, but many still worry about the future dilemma of paying for their child’s college costs while also funding their own retirement, according to the Allianz LoveFamilyMoney of 4,500 Americans. The survey identified seven different family types, one of them the older parent with first child under five years old.

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