The economic crisis has brought personal finance front and center, for Americans as well as others throughout the world, the ING Retirement Institute Research Institute found.

Ninety-four percent of Americans wish they did a better job of managing their money, and 89% of respondents in other parts of the world shared that sentiment.

The Financial Intelligence Quotient test broke respondents into four categories: Excellent, Good, Basic or Poor. ING found that the more financially literate someone is, the happier and more confident they are. Approximately 62% of Americans fell into the Basic category, higher than the global average.

“We know Americans need to save more for their retirement, and it’s great to see that better money management is a top priority,” said Rob Leary, CEO of ING Insurance U.S. “However, while it is encouraging that most Americans want to manage their finances better, it’s time to convert good intentions into action. Americans can take a few simple steps to make progress quickly.”

For instance, Leary said, they can reach out to a financial professional for help, contribute more to their workplace retirement savings plan and set a budget so that they have more to contribute to their IRA.

Startlingly, only 53% of Americans are currently saving for retirement, even though 97% realize that the earlier one starts saving for retirement, the better off one will be. Twenty-nine percent said they didn’t know where to start, 23% said they were procrastinating, and 18% said they needed help but didn’t know where to get it.

“One way to get people on the path to better managing their financial future is helping them focus on maximizing their workplace retirement plan,” Leary said. “Americans cannot delay giving themselves a ‘retirement raise.’ A modest increase in your workplace retirement plan contribution rate can go a long way toward ensuring a more financially secure retirement.”

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