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Most Americans have no idea how much it costs to retire in a nursing home, according to a recent study by Money Rates.
"Nearly 57 percent of Americans believe a year in a nursing home would cost less than $75,000," according to Money Rates, which is unfortunate, since the real cost can range from $80,000 to upwards of $90,000 per year.
To Bloomberg View's Megan McArdle, not knowing the true cost of retirement is representative of a much larger or possibly more frightening reality.
"Forget socking it away for a nursing home; most people aren’t prepared for life’s current emergencies," she wrote, citing a recent Bankrate survey that shows only 23 percent of Americans have enough saved to cover at least six months' worth of expenses.
Why, then, do we fall so short in financial planning?
McArdle, for one, put the blame principally on bad habits formed from media, parenting and general envy. To McArdle, changing your finances is more about altering your state of mind than learning a few simple tricks.
Libby Nelson at Vox also argued that the problem of teaching money is much more complicated than we tend to recognize.
"It's easier to get people to take one action — get a vaccine, open a savings account — than it is to get them to change their behavior for years or decades," Nelson wrote.
Because of this, personal-finance classes offered in colleges and high schools across the country have struggled to have much of an impact.
"Teaching money habits to college students is something like teaching good eating and exercising habits: much easier in theory than in practice," Nelson said, "and not something that can happen in a traditional classroom."