According to a press release, the survey found 59% of respondents ages 18-34 are focused more intently on achieving fiscal fitness rather than physical fitness in 2009 (41%). In contrast, 61% of adults age 55+ said physical fitness was a high priority for 2009, and 39% selected fiscal fitness.
In addition, fewer older adults (38% of those age 55 and older) expressed interest in ways to save automatically than Americans age 18-34 (46%), which Union Bank said may account for the older group’s sense that attaining fiscal fitness is harder today than achieving physical fitness (72%).
The survey revealed that 72% of adults age 34-55 believe they do not have enough money saved in the proper accounts to make it through the next year. In addition, nearly half of those surveyed (45%) declared that if they had access to a large amount of money without penalty, paying off debt would be their top priority rather than saving money or making a large purchase such as a home, car or vacation.
For many respondents, a significant barrier to saving money is a lack of extra funds at the end of the month, a sentiment especially strong among women age 35-44 (70%), the press release said.
Nearly half (45%) of respondents indicated they plan to save money on a monthly basis through their existing bank accounts. However, only a small number of adults said they intend to take concrete steps towards fiscal fitness such as contributing to a new savings account (15%) and/or meeting with a financial adviser to maximize their savings through tax-deferred accounts (14%).
Harris Interactive fielded the study on behalf of Union Bank, N.A. from December 5-9, 2008, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,137 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older.