I recently read an article about a tool that ING has on its website that allows you to compare your financial situation against your peers: ING Compare Me. I must admit I am not a big fan of comparing myself to others. I actually feel this is one of the reasons why so many Americans are in a financial mess. They tried to keep up with their friends/peers and bought things they could not afford. Even though I feel this way, I decided to use this tool just to see where I stand compared to others.
You first enter your age, income, gender and marital status. You then answer a variety of financial-related questions such as how much you have saved for retirement, what age you started saving for retirement, how often you monitor your retirement, how much you have saved overall, how much you spend on vacations, how much debt you have compared to others, how much credit card debt you carry, how much your mortgage payment is, and how much life insurance you have. The questions are pretty easy to answer and you should not need to do much searching to come up with the information.
After you complete this survey, you get a 14 page PDF report that summarizes your answers. This report is very easy to understand and gives you recommendations for steps you should take based on the information you provided.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not a huge fan of comparing myself to others but I did find this to be informative. Many people have no clue on how they spend money and how much they have invested for retirement. ING Compare Me encourages you to seek out this information. In addition, it does provide some information that could help you improve your financial well-being.
Overall, ING Compare Me is an interesting tool that takes little time for you to complete in order to get a feel of where you stand financially compared to others like you. It is not the end-all-be-all of your financial picture. Many of us have our own goals and objectives for our lives. If you find that you are doing better than your peers (after completing this survey), you can feel good about your efforts and see that your planning and the way you handle money is paying off. However, even if you are doing well compared to others, this does not automatically guarantee that you are on track to reaching your own personal goals. It is a good measurement of how you compare to others but, since many people made money mistakes in the past few years, you will probably be in better shape than they are (reading this blog shows that you have an interest in finances which is not the norm). If you are struggling with money, I hope this survey is the spark that leads you to change your ways. If you are on the right track, I hope you use ING Compare Me as encouragement to continue making sound financial decisions.
Have you used the ING Compare Me Tool? If so, what do you think about it?