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. An updated poll from Fidelity Investments, though, suggests that a lot of people want to do a better job of saving in 2020. Specifically, 67 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 (53 percent) reported that “saving more” is a main goal.
Nearly the same proportion of respondents (51 percent) also pledged to reduce their debt load in 2020, and more than a third (35 percent) said they intend to cut back on discretionary spending. Compared to traditional New Year's resolutions like exercising more, eating healthy, or some other type of self-improvement, surveyed Americans were significantly more likely to prefer committing to a money-related goal in 2020. When asked what motivates them to prioritize finances in the year ahead, the top responses were being able to have a debt-free life, gain control of monthly bills, and enjoy a comfortable retirement.
Further, 85 percent of surveyed adults said that they intend to build up their emergency fund in 2020, and half plan to increase the amount of money they regularly set aside for old age. The latter is especially encouraging since the annual contribution limits for many retirement plans will increase next year. The likelihood of these people actually boosting their savings in the year ahead is quite high because more than three in four respondents (78 percent) anticipate being better off financially in 2020. Fidelity’s Melissa Ridolfi added that “a small step like making a resolution for the New Year can go a long way in forming good money habits that can last a lifetime.”
Sticking to any new year’s resolution, though, can be challenging, and several surveyed Americans admitted that they failed to follow through on their financial goals in 2019. As for the respondents who were successful, common advice they recommended for achieving one's financial aspirations included making sure that the goals set are clearly-defined and achievable, along with utilizing small milestones and general progress tracking to stay motivated over the course of the year.
Sources: Fidelity Investments