Broker Check

What does a healthy relationship with money look like?

Money Read Time: 5 min

Everyone benefits from having a strong financial role model. But examples of good money behavior can be hard to find, particularly for people raised in families where money was never discussed. Without seeing healthy relationships with money, however, people can get stuck in their own detrimental habits, such as overspending and undersaving. Plus, it’s hard to envision a long-term financial plan without someone illuminating the road ahead.

For those wanting to build a better financial life, the Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence TM offers inspiration. The 2021 study surveyed over 5,000 full and part-time American workers with median household incomes of $112,000. Over the course of the study, four different financial profiles emerged: Day-to-Day Decision-Makers, Retirement Realists, Ambitious Spenders, and Confident Planners. There’s a broad range of financial habits among these four groups, and when it comes to model behaviors to emulate, the Ambitious Spenders and the Confident Planners lead the way. Here’s why.

Working with a financial professional

Of the approximately 5,000 people who responded to the Study, 32 percent fall into the Ambitious Spenders category. This group tends to be made up of millennials, and they are the most likely to own their own business.

For long-term planning, more than half are currently working with a financial professional to develop their custom financial strategy. Additionally, they embrace healthy risk: over three-fourths (77 percent) say they will assume greater risk in their investments to gain above-average returns. Plus, 83 percent say that they feel more satisfaction when they save extra money rather than spend it. These habits give Ambitious Spenders a high level of confidence in their future ability to retire with their expenses covered, including the unexpected.

A comprehensive financial strategy

Twenty-three percent of the respondents were Confident Planners, largely older members of Generation X. Perhaps the most surprising fact about this group is that their confidence is not solely due to income. Yes, they are the highest-earning group with a mean household income of $183,000. At the same time, their confidence also comes from their deep understanding of the range of financial products available to them. For instance, 77 percent say their financial plans address retirement income planning, and 90 percent say they understand annuities well.

They also excel in saving for the future, as they put aside approximately 23 percent of their annual income. And once they set up their long-term financial strategy, 95 percent confirm that they are good at sticking to it. All these behaviors lead Confident Planners to feel “extremely confident” about retirement.

How to boost your financial confidence

If you’re still feeling hesitant to start a new relationship with money, it may help to remember that you are not alone. The 2021 study found that 37 percent of those surveyed say they avoid dealing with their finances because they find it overwhelming.

People point to all sorts of reasons for this stress, from personal worries to concerns about chaos in the world. No matter what prevents you from making the changes you desire, research shows1 that people are more likely to succeed when they pick a meaningful date to begin. This can be your birthday, or graduation date, or even the first day of the week. To get started, pick your fresh start date to begin a new habit. One action to consider for your Fresh Start date is to call a financial professional to begin discussing your future and financial goals.

If you haven’t had strong financial role models in your life, it can be hard to know how to get better with money, especially for the long term. Embracing the habits of Ambitious Spenders and Confident Planners, like increasing your savings and working with a financial professional to create and write down your financial strategy, can help.

1 The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence, 2021.


Brought to you by The Guardian Network ©202. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY

2024-171705  Exp. 03/2026

*Pre-approved content*

Have a Question?

Sam Duffey
Sam Duffey
Ashford Brokerage, CA License #0J09024, AR License #15480533 Director of Brokerage Sales (205) 843-9434

Introducing Income Protection Made Simple

In every stage of life, the sudden halt of income or cash flow can have a profound impact on our lifestyle and hinder progress towards future financial goals. As a seasoned professional in the insurance industry, I understand the importance of safeguarding what many believe is ones most important financial resource, and that's where I come in.

I collaborate closely with financial professionals, serving as a valuable partner to enhance their existing carrier relationships and offer comprehensive protection against unforeseen circumstances like untimely death, injury, or illness.

Through my unique KNOW - SHOW - FLOW service, financial professionals experience a seamless process that empowers them to:

KNOW: Stay informed about the most prevalent and relevant cases we encounter, enabling them to make well-informed decisions for their clients.

SHOW: Master the art of strategizing and implementing protection plans with ease, even providing the option for joint meetings if necessary, to foster client understanding and confidence.

FLOW: Leverage our innovative agency marketing website and cutting-edge tools that enable them to scale their business to new heights.

Our offerings encompass a range of insurance products tailored to individual needs:

1) Disability Income: Provides crucial protection for earning professionals against the unexpected impacts of injury or illness on their income.

2) Term Life: Ensures the continuity of future income for loved ones in the event of the untimely passing of a breadwinner.

3) Whole Life: Establishes a lasting legacy benefit and serves as a reliable retirement distribution strategy.

When working with our brokerage team, success takes on a clear and tangible form. We strive to empower financial professionals to engage with clients confidently about income protection, streamlining the new business process, and unveiling new markets as well as sales ideas that lead to substantial business growth.

Our ultimate objective is to equip you with the tools and knowledge necessary to protect your clients' financial well-being comprehensively. As a result, you'll find new ease in processing business, discover expanded market opportunities, and experience unmatched satisfaction as you witness your business scale to unprecedented heights.

Join us in making Income Protection Made Simple a reality for your clients and your professional success. Let's work together to secure their dreams and create a more secure financial future for all.