Americans’ Financial Resolutions for 2016

February 2, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Financial Services | Real Estate | Women | Youth & Gen X

American-Adults-Financial-Resolutions-in-2016-Feb2016More than 8 in 10 American adults expect to do something different this year with regards to their finances, reports The Harris Poll in a recently-released survey. Most commonly, they plan to cut back on household spending (41%), save more (40%) and pay down debt (39%), with fewer planning to save for retirement or undertake home improvements.

Not surprisingly, there are some differences in financial plans when sorting by age. Gen Xers (36-50) are the most likely to be taking on a variety of these, ranging from cutting back spending (44%) to paying down debt (46%) and refinancing a mortgage (9%). Millennials are easily the most keen to save more, though, with 57% planning to do so.

What does research say about marketing financial services to Millennials? Find out here.

The study also indicates that the presence of children in the household has a considerable impact on spending plans. In fact, respondents with children in the household were more likely than those without to be planning each of the financial actions listed. Among the more common activities, saving more appears to be much more of a priority for those with (51%) than without (34%) kids. That may be due to the impact children have on daily household spending: 2014 research from Gallup, for example, indicates that Americans with children under the age of 18 spend substantially more on a daily basis than those without kids, regardless of the age or income of the householder.

A separate study [download page] from Forbes Insights, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, shows that Gen X (35-49) women with children are more likely than those without children to pursue a variety of goals. Not too surprisingly, the biggest disparity relates to being able to leave wealth for future generations, which 37% of those with children are pursuing or would like to pursue, versus just 5% of Gen X women without kids.

Most adults will follow through on their plans, suggests The Harris Poll. In looking back at 2015, more than two-thirds of those who planned to cut back on their household spending went ahead and did so, while almost two-thirds who planned to pay down their level of debt followed through. Savings proved tougher, however, with only a bare majority (52%) able to follow through on their resolution to save more in the year ahead. The only resolution which a majority did not follow through with was taking out a home equity loan of credit.

About the Data: The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 9 and 14, 2015 among 2,252 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

The Forbes Insights and Northwestern Mutual survey was conducted among 807 women in Spring 2015.


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