Survey respondents are focused more on their financial
health than on their physical health, with “saving more” the number one New
Year’s resolution for 2010, cited by 36%, according to a press release. Old
standbys such as “exercise more” (34%) and “lose weight” (34%) trail behind.
One-fifth (18%) of respondents indicated they definitely
plan to save more in 2010; another 30% hope to do so; and a further 30% “hope
to, but are not sure it will be possible.” More than one-quarter (28%) of those
polled specifically said they will try to save more for their retirement in
2010. Smaller numbers intend to make additional payments to reduce their
mortgages (14%) and regularly review their 401(k) plans and other investments
Underscoring concern about debt, one-third of respondents
(33%) said they would pay down personal debt if they received cash for a
holiday gift this year. Seventeen percent said they would use the cash to pay
for daily living expenses, and 13% said they would save it in an “emergency”
Americans surveyed also reported plans to spend less
during this holiday season. Four in 10
(42%) said they have established an overall spending limit; 36% said they will
pay for gifts only with cash; and 33% indicated they will limit the number of
people for whom they will buy gifts. In addition, 30% plan to limit spending on
holiday entertainment, and 18% said they will enter into a “no gift exchange”
agreement with people with whom they have exchanged gifts in the past.
Men expect to be less restrained in their holiday
spending than women, with just 26% of men but 40% of women saying they will
limit the number of people for whom they will buy gifts. Males are also less
likely to say they will avoid the use of credit cards, limit spending on
holiday entertainment, or enter into “no gift exchange” agreements.
More than half of those surveyed (51%) indicated their
family and friends would respect their need to save more for retirement if they
were to spend one-quarter less this holiday season and instead put the money
into retirement savings. A further one in seven (15%) say that doing so might
even start a new tradition in their circle.
Survey respondents were optimistic about their personal
situations, with more than half (52%) saying they were more hopeful about their
own financial health going into 2010 than they were a year ago. However,
regarding the country’s overall financial picture, 57% expect that consumers
will still spend less next year than they did this year, and only 40% expect
that the U.S. economy will be “much healthier” in 2010.