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 2018. Specifically, 27 percent of surveyed U.S. adults said that they plan on making at least one financial resolution for the new year, and more than half of these individuals reported that “saving more” will be their top goal.
A quarter of respondents also pledged to reduce their debt load in 2018, and 18 percent said that they intend to cut back on discretionary spending. Among surveyed Americans that identified saving as their top priority in the new year, 38 percent said that the money they set aside will be used for short-term goals, which for most (66 percent) respondents means building up an emergency fund. Even more encouraging is that a majority (54 percent) of surveyed Americans with saving as a top priority in 2018 said that the money set aside will be used for achieving long-term financial goals.
Fifty-eight percent of these same individuals reported that the funds will go directly toward boosting their 401(k) and IRA balances, and 43 percent of all respondents said that they expect to increase their annual rate of retirement saving by at least one full percentage point in the year ahead. More generally, Americans appear optimistic about 2018, with 76 percent of respondents expecting to be better off financially in the new year than they were in 2017. Despite the bright outlook, sticking to any new year’s resolution can be very challenging.
However, 68 percent of the surveyed Americans who reported that they were successful at sticking to their 2017 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 “Even if you don't feel a burning need to create a financial resolution, you can still resolve to identify financial areas needing improvement and make some smart financial moves before December 31.”
Such constructive actions can include maximizing your contributions to workplace retirement plans, IRAs, and charities before the end of year, as well as reviewing your investment portfolio’s returns and asset allocation. Consulting with a professional financial advisor can also help identify what improvements should be made right now and in the year ahead.
Sources: Fidelity InvestmentsPost author: Charles Couch