Almost one in seven Americans have absolutely no plan for their future financial and health care needs, new research suggests. A recent study of 2,000 employed Americans found that only 26% have a one-to-four-year plan in place. And even with many believing they'd factored health care costs into their future plans, seven in 10 respondents grossly underestimated the amount of money they think the average retirement-aged couple needs for health expenses. For long-term financial goals, nearly three in five are using a 401(k)/retirement account and 31% are leveraging a health savings account. But despite that, nearly three-quarters of Americans admitted they had no clue how 401(k)s, health insurance or HSAs worked when they got their first job. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bend Financial, the study also discovered nearly 40% of respondents weren't well-informed about health benefits at their first professional job and were left to research the benefits offered on their own. Moreover, more than half felt overwhelmed by the mountain of paperwork surrounding their benefit options. More than three in five have also felt stuck in a job, but not always for obvious reasons. While nearly half feared they wouldn't be able to find a similar or better salary, 41% were afraid of losing their benefits — much more than those who feared their skills weren't transferable (22%).
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