It’s nearly time for those New Year’s Resolutions, and this year’s focus is more on working out and getting healthier than getting finances in shape in the coming year.
In the 6th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America just about half (49%) of people surveyed said that health and wellness were their top priorities in the coming year, which is up from 43% last year.
Diet and exercise are usually top New Year’s resolutions, and this year the trend continues with 42% of respondents saying they hope to focus on fitness in 2015. Managing money is next in line with 40% vowing to do a better job next year. About a third (32%) resolved to spend more time with family and friends.
Financial health is still relevant
Financial stability is still on American’s minds, but it’s just not as prevalent as it once was, with just 30% making it their top resolution for 2015. And financial planning is even less of a priority with just 15% including it on their list, down from 33% in 2009.
The upturn in the economy and confidence are seen as being the reasons for this change in focus. “With a healthier U.S. economy, continued market strength and lower unemployment, people have forgotten the trauma they experienced in 2008-2009 and have more confidence in the state of their finances,” said Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life.
While finances are not as in style as they have been in previous years, what has changed is that more people are looking to get some help from professionals when it comes to managing their money. Nearly a quarter (23%) indicated they will be talking to a financial professional next year.
When asked what their top choice would be if they had free access to a top professional in any field, 36% said they would talk to a financial professional, followed by nutritionist/dietician (28%), personal trainer (23%), and career counselor (13%).
Stressors for 2015
What causes Americans the most stress? For four in ten people (45%) worries that data breaches at big retailers that could result in identity theft kept them up at night. Followed by terrorism (43%), the fear that stagnant wages could keep them from getting ahead (42%), and market uncertainty keeping them from boosting their retirement savings (38%).
Bad financial habits die hard
As was the case in years past certain key issues keep people from meeting their financial goal:
- not saving any money (28%)
- spending too much on things not needed (27%)
- saving some money, but not as much as they could (24%)
What is the one thing they could do to get a leg up financially in the coming year? Paying off credit cards (19%) took the top spot, followed by increasing emergency savings (17%) and growing their retirement savings (14%).
The 6th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey was conducted in November using an eNation online survey. They queried 1,004 respondents.