Survey: Americans give higher priority to retirement savings than to college savingsNews added by National Underwriter on July 23, 2012
National Underwriter

National Underwriter

Joined: April 22, 2011

By Warren S. Hersch

More adult Americans give higher priority to saving for retirement than to saving for a child’s college education, new research reveals.

Country Financial, Bloomington, Ill., published this finding in a summary of results from a national telephone and online survey of 3,000 Americans. The data was compiled by Rasmussen Reports LLC, an independent research firm.

When asked to prioritize savings objectives, nearly half (45 percent) of the respondents polled by Rasmussen gave greater priority to saving for retirement than to saving for a child’s college education (38 percent). The result, the report indicates, can be attributed in part to a steady decline in the number of Americans who value a college education.

Just 57 percent of Americans in 2012 believe that a college education is still a good investment, the report finds. In 2011 and 2010, 58 percent and 64 percent of Americans, respectively, said that a college education is a still a good investment. The survey reveals still higher percentages in 2009 (79 percent) and 2008 (81 percent).

Forty two percent of the survey respondents say that $20,000 or greater is too much student loan debt. This is 9 percent more than the 31 percent who provided the same answer in 2011.

By comparison, half of Americans say that less than $20,000 in student loan debt is too much. This represents a 9 percent decline compared to the 61 percent who answered similarly in 2011.

The survey attributes the greater percentage of Americans this year versus last who are prepared to accept higher loan amounts to the 62 percent of respondents who “prioritized the quality of the education over the cost when evaluating colleges.”

The survey further reveals that 80 percent of Americans say that parents should be responsible for paying at least a part of their child’s college education. A majority (57 percent) say that half or less of their child’s college costs will be funded by student loans.

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