No time like the present to plan for family's financial future, expert says

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Families today face quite a financial dilemma. People know they need to save for retirement, but they also need to put food on the table and kids though college. How can you do all of that?

According to Morgan Stanley executive director and financial advisor Bob Manning, there are no quick fixes, but how you structure yourself is key.

"The three biggest issues that face young couples these days are housing, education and retirement," he said. "Housing, you have choices, you can rent, buy, live in the city or the suburbs. You can refinance your mortgage, take equity out. Education, there are — as daunting as it is — options."

But as for retirement, he said you either save or you don't.

"Unfortunately, only 31% of people who retire have a pension, so the overwhelming majority of workers have to do it on their own. Through a 401k or 403 is the best way to do it."

Manning's advice is to make a plan to start saving.

"If you know how many dollars you have coming in and get control of how many dollars you have going out, you can review those bills and determine which ones you need, which ones you want and which ones you shouldn't have," he said.

Manning suggested sitting down with your children and involving them in the conversation, as these lessons about how to manage money can never come too soon. However, while helping your kids with college is one thing, he added you shouldn't sacrifice your retirement to do it.

"You can always adjust your retirement," he said, "but you can't recreate it at a later date."