Financial Stability Top Focus for Americans in 2018, Survey Finds

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, financial stability edged out health and wellness as the main focus area for Americans going into 2018, new survey results show.

According to Allianz Life’s 9th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey, 71% of survey respondents said their top focus in 2018 will be financial stability, compared to 67% who said health and wellness.

Yet more than a third of Americans (36%) believe another major recession may be in the cards for 2018. Despite these concerns, Americans were still more optimistic about making money in the near future (39%) than were pessimistic about losing money (23%), according to the survey results. This level of optimism increased from 32% in 2016. “Even though one-third worry about a potential recession, optimism still rules the day,” says Paul Kelash, Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights.

With financial stability topping the list, “manage better/save more” was cited by 42% of respondents in their 2018 New Year’s resolutions — an increase of five percentage points from the 37% who cited that resolution in 2016.

When asked what they plan to do to improve their finances in 2018, building an emergency fund was cited by respondents as the first priority, followed by paying down credit cards, making a budget and increasing retirement savings.

Respondents also admitted, however, to having some financial hurdles to overcome. “Spending too much money on things I don’t need” (32%) registered as the worst financial habit — the highest percentage reported since 2012. “Not saving any money” (29%), “saving some money, but not as much as I could” (24%) and “not paying down debt fast enough” (23%) were reported as the next highest bad financial habits.

Open to Professional Support

To overcome their bad financial habits, the study found that Americans are open to getting help. Nearly a third (32%) of respondents stated they would more likely seek the advice of a financial professional in 2018. Respondents also chose financial professional (28%) as the top professional they would access if they could do so for free, ahead of therapist (19%), nutritionist/dietician (18%), lawyer (15%), personal trainer (12%) or career counselor (7%).

The utilization of online tools also gained some momentum. The study found that 23% of respondents reported they will use online resources more this year, and 31% plan to continue using them as much as they did in 2017.

Allianz Life’s New Year’s Resolution Survey was conducted online during November 2017 with 1,004 respondents.

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