A Fidelity Investments news release about its poll said this was closely followed by saving for college or retiree health care costs (both at 42%). While long-term goals prevail in overall importance with those resolving to save more, nearly a third (31%) indicate they would be saving for short-term goals, such as building an emergency fund (50%) and paying down credit card debt (49%). Overall 51% said saving more is a top priority in the new year.
“The historic economic events over the past two years have shaken many Americans, but they have also spurred positive saving behaviors,” said Ken Hevert, vice president, Fidelity Investments, in the news release. “As the economy continues to recover, it will be crucial that these investors continue to make saving a priority, and create a long- and short-term action plan to help them reach their goals.”
Eighty percent of Americans whose resolution is to save more say their current savings behavior is likely to continue as the economy recovers. Additionally, the majority (78%) of those considering a financial resolution say the economic events of the past year will help them stick with the resolutions in 2011. These events have had an even greater impact on women, with 85% indicating they are now more motivated to stay on track with their financial resolutions versus 69% of men.
Meanwhile, according to Fidelity, younger Americans are significantly more likely to consider financial resolutions. In fact, 50% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 typically consider a financial resolution versus 30% of those who are over 55 years old. Additionally, these younger individuals are more likely to cite “saving more” as a top resolution compared to those between 35 and 54 years old (65% versus 38%, respectively). When it comes to planning, the survey finds younger Americans significantly more interested in learning about establishing a financial plan (57%) versus those ages 35-64 (39%) and even those older than 65 (16%).
When compared with last year, more Americans appear to be proactively seeking financial education in 2011, from general investing topics to more specific areas of focus, including investing through tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles such as IRAs and 401(k)s. Areas of focus for that education included: Understanding how to invest (40%), Saving for retirement (48%), Investing through a 401(k) (31%), and Investing using an IRA (25%).