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News: Financial Fitness Takes a Backseat to Physical Fitness in the New Year -

Many people have made New Year’s resolutions vowing to get healthier. However, physical health trumps financial health, as exercise and diet is the number one New Year’s resolution folks anticipate making and being able to stick to.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America asked 1,000 people about their New Year’s resolutions for 2015 via an online survey conducted in November. Almost half (49%) said health and wellness was their first concern when thinking about changes they’d like to make. That’s up from 43% in 2013. When asked what resolution they planned to make, and thought they’d be able to follow through with, health and wellness came out on top again, with 42% saying they believe they’ll stick to their new exercise and diet regimes.

Managing money better made the list with 40% of respondents saying they were making and planning to keep resolutions regarding their financial wellness. However, only 30% of those surveyed named financial stability as a priority in 2015. And only 15% of people said that financial planning was on their resolution list, down from a record high of 33% in 2009.

Besides getting physically and financially fit, people are also prioritizing quality time with loved ones. Thirty-two percent of folks said they resolved to spend more time with family and friends this year.

Money stress is ever-present

Even though finances aren’t the first thing on the New Year’s resolution list for everyone, many people are feeling the pressure. Forty percent of survey respondents said they were feeling more money stress at the end of 2014 compared to the end of 2013. And 39% said they feel the same stress level as last year. Only 21% said they are less stressed about money.

The reasons for money stress include concerns about data security, spurred by the proliferation of high-profile payment data breaches in the last year. Forty-five percent of folks named this as their first or second worry going into 2015. Terrorism, specifically ISIS, was a top stressor for 43% of respondents, and 42% said “stagnant wages” were a concern. Thirty-eight percent of people were also anxious about the economy, worried that it would impact their retirement savings negatively.

Regrets from 2014 still haunt consumers

When it comes to regrets last year, 28% of folks said they are sorry they didn’t save money, and 27% regret spending on things they didn’t really need. Twenty-four percent said they did save some money, but wish they’d saved more.

The number one thing people said they could do to improve their financial health this year is paying off credit card debt.