The Motley Fool asked readers “How Much Time Does the Average American Spend on Personal Finance?” Rather than look at the actual time in minutes or hours, we can say that the answer for many people is: not enough. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and from Northwestern Mutual’s 2019 Planning & Progress Study, The Motley Fool found that the desire to be financially stable is there but it is not easy to take action to reach out financial goals.
“When it comes to finances, people were almost 30 times more likely to spend time watching TV than managing their finances. And they’re about 50 times more likely to spend time watching TV than using financial or banking services….However, those that do spend time on their finances are spending more time doing so — up to a total of one hour and 20 minutes per day in 2018 on financial household management and financial/banking services combined.”
When writing checks was more common, people had to spend time reconciling their checkbooks. Now that so many financial transactions taking place online, you would think it would be easier. But just as some people didn’t balance their checkbooks, some of us don’t log in to examine our finances online either.
You can work incrementally towards spending more time on your finances. You can schedule financial planning time each week to go over your finances, to see where your money is going, make fewer impulse purchases, and consider the seasons of the year when you spend more on certain things (utilities, travel, gifts etc.)
You can also work with a Fee-Only financial planner to take some of the work of strategizing off of your shoulders. Some of us ignore our finances now because we feel overwhelmed but with a plan in place, you can feel less anxious about money.
As the article observes, “…the average American spends almost 10 times more time working to make money than they do to manage it. Perhaps if we all spent a bit more time on our personal finances, we could make our money work harder. In the long run, that might mean more financial security…”