Americans appear to be more stressed about their finances than ever – but that could be good news for advisors.
According to the 8th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, 42% of Americans reported being more stressed in 2016 than in 2015, an increase from last year when only 36% reported being more stressed heading into the new year. Topping the list of issues that kept them up at night, most respondents cited the election outcome as their top worry – above terrorism, identity theft or stagnant wages.
Furthermore, the presidential election was 2016’s most worrisome topic for respondents both before (53%) and after (47%) the outcome was decided.
That said, when asked how they thought the election results will affect finances after the results were in, the majority had a positive or neutral outlook (55%). Nearly one third (32%) were optimistic that they will make money in the near future and 23% believed their finances will not be impacted at all by the election outcome. Not that that was a uniform perspective; 24% were pessimistic, thinking they will probably lose money in the near future, and 21% were terrified the market will crash, leading to another Great Recession.
However, nearly one in three (29%) of those surveyed claimed they would be more likely to seek advice from a financial professional in 2017, the highest percentage in the study’s history (the lowest percentage of respondents open to seeking financial advice was 19% in 2013). In a bit of “good news, bad news” (for advisors), respondents also chose financial professional (25%) as the top professional they would access if they could do so for free, ahead of nutritionist/dietician (23%), personal trainer (15%), lawyer (14%) or therapist (14%).
Asked to list their top bad financial habit for 2016:
- 30% said “spending too much money on things I don’t need”
- 23% said “saving some, but not as much as I could”
- 23% said “not saving any money”
“Spending too much” also topped the list of bad financial habits in 2015.
When asked about focus areas in 2017, Americans ranked health/wellness first (45%), followed by financial stability (30%) and career/employment (12%). Respondents were most likely to keep these resolutions by “exercising/dieting more” and “managing money better/saving more.”
The results were based on an online survey in November 2016, with 1,110 respondents pre-election and 1,005 respondents post-election.