The majority of nontraditional families are struggling financially, and less than half have sought the advice of a financial advisor, according to an Allianz study.
Fifty-seven percent of these families said that they are either "making ends meet," "struggling financially," or "poor," a full 10 percentage points higher than their traditional family counterparts.
Additionally, 49 percent said that they currently live paycheck to paycheck, versus 41 percent of traditional families. Twenty-five percent of nontraditional families said they are not saving any money at all.
According to the study, just 19.6 percent of U.S. households are "traditional" -- married heterosexual couples with at least one child under 21 living at home -- a big shift from the 40.3 percent of traditional families counted in 1970.
Allianz defined nontraditional families as multi-generational families, single-parent families, same-sex couples, blended families, older parent families (parents age 40+ with at least one child under five in the household) and boomerang families (parents with an adult child who left and later returned).
“New family structures have a direct impact on a family’s relationship with money and finances, and we found that, while modern families [nontraditional families] have similar strong emotional ties, they often feel financially less secure than their traditional counterparts," said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of consumer insights.
The study revealed differences in the financial security of nontraditional versus traditional families, providing the financial services industry with compelling evidence of the need to tailor products to the needs of specific family structures, says Allianz.
Just 30 percent of nontraditional families felt a high level of financial security, versus 41 percent of traditional families. This may be due to financial hardships faced by these families. The study found that nearly 36 percent of nontraditional families have collected unemployment, versus only 21 percent of traditional families. Thirty-five percent have unexpectedly lost a main source of income, compared with 23 percent in the traditional category. Moreover, twice as many nontraditional families have declared bankruptcy versus traditional families, 22 percent compared with 11 percent, respectively.
Nontraditional families also struggle with their financial futures, says Allianz. Only 34 percent believe that they have "excellent/above average" financial planning knowledge/expertise, compared with 44 percent of their traditional counterparts. And only 51 percent, versus 60 percent of traditional families, think that they are on track to achieve their financial goals.
A lack of professional guidance may be a factor in the way many nontraditional families approach financial planning. According to the study, less than half (43 percent) said they have ever used a financial professional, versus 53 percent of traditional families. Twenty-six percent said they "don't make enough money to think about financial planning for the future," versus 18 percent of traditional families. And nearly a third (31 percent) say they have "too many expenses and/or debts to pay off before I can think about planning for the future," compared with about a quarter (26 percent) of traditional families.