Retirement Resolutions on the Rise?

A new survey finds a big surge in financial resolutions for 2018, and another finds a big jump in a commitment to increase retirement plan contributions.

Lincoln’s “Financial Focus: Goals and Reflections of Today’s Consumer” survey found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans are likely to make a New Year’s resolution of some type in 2018, up from the 54% who made one in 2017. The most common categories of resolutions are fitness and weight loss, followed by happiness-focused resolutions and then finances and career improvement.

Overall, three-quarters (74%) of Americans feel better about their finances now compared to the beginning of 2017, and 84% expect their finances will improve in 2018.

Lincoln’s survey also found that simply making a New Year’s resolution about finances may lead to increased confidence in a consumer’s financial situation even if they don’t reach their goal: 69% of those who set a goal but did not accomplish it say that they feel better about their finances, compared to 64% of those with no financial goal.

Retirement Resolutions

That bodes well for the confidence of investors in an E*Trade Streetwise report that found that 40% of survey respondents say they plan to do so, up six percentage points from last year. That commitment is even higher among investors aged 25-34 (51%) and 35-54 (53%). However, among older investors (over 55), only 17% planned to do so.

Not far behind were the 38% who plan to tweak their asset mix to reflect changing market conditions, consistent with last year (when 39% expressed that intent), and the third (35%) who want to learn more about investing, trading and the markets, also consistent with the 34% who expressed that sentiment a year ago. Millennials, as it turns out, were the most interested in learning more (41%), while Gen Xers are the most focused on retirement investing. Meanwhile the rebalancing focus came primarily from Boomers (52%), while Millennials (23%) and Gen Xers (38%) were less focused on that.

Not that these were your typical 401(k) investors. The survey was conducted Oct. 1-12 among an online sample of 918 U.S. self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account.

So – a surge in financial resolutions for 2018 and a big jump in a commitment to increase retirement plan contributions. Looks like 2018 will be off to a well-intentioned start.

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