There have been numerous reports released this year showing that too many Americans still struggle to regularly set aside money for retirement and other major expenses. A new poll conducted by Fidelity Investments, though, suggests that a lot of people want to do a better job of saving in 2017. Specifically, 36 percent of surveyed U.S. adults said that they plan on making at least one financial resolution for the new year, and half of these individuals reported that “saving more” will be their top goal.
More than a quarter (28 percent) of respondents also pledged to eliminate debt in 2017, and 16 percent said that they intend to cut back on discretionary spending. For those Americans identifying saving as their top priority in the new year, 32 percent said that the money they set aside will be used for short-term goals, which for most (72 percent) respondents means building up an emergency fund. Even more encouraging is that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of surveyed Americans with saving as a top priority in 2017 said that the money set aside will be used for achieving long-term financial goals.
Sixty-four percent of these respondents said the funds will go toward boosting their 401(k) and/or IRA, and nearly half reported that they expect to increase their overall rate of retirement saving by at least one full percentage point in the year ahead. More generally, Americans appear to be optimistic about 2017, with 70 percent of respondents expecting to be better off financially in the new year than they were in 2016. Despite the bright outlook, sticking to any new year’s resolution can be very challenging. However, 69 percent of the surveyed Americans who reported that they were successful at sticking to their 2016 financial resolutions said that constantly focusing on the ultimate benefit to their bottom-line is what helped them stay motivated over the course of the year.
Ken Hevert, a senior vice president at Fidelity, added that “The start of a New Year is the perfect time to review your financial plan. Even if you don’t like making specific resolutions, you can still resolve to identify financial areas that might need some improvement and make some smart financial moves before December 31.” The latter can include maximizing your contributions to workplace retirement plans, IRAs, and charities before the end of year, as well as revisiting your investment portfolio’s returns and asset allocation. Consulting with a professional financial advisor can also help identify what improvements should be made now and in the year ahead.
Sources: Fidelity InvestmentsPost author: Charles Couch