Consumer spending

Study: More Americans make financial resolution for New Year

Fidelity InvestmentsA recent study by Fidelity Investments showed that 54 percent of Americans are considering a financial resolution for New Year—a 54 percent increase from 2009.

Approximately one-quarter of Americans said they are better financially positioned than they were last year, an increase of 19 percent from 2012. Of those considering a financial resolution for 2014, top goals include saving more, paying off debt and spending less.

“Making financial resolutions…can have a tremendous impact on the financial and emotional well-being of a household, so it’s encouraging to see that so many Americans intend to build a stronger financial foundation in the year ahead,” Ken Hevert, the vice president of retirement products at Fidelity, said.

The study showed a shift from long-term savings goals, such as retirement and college savings, to short-term goals like paying down credit card debt, saving for a large purchase and building an emergency fund.

“The financial crisis of five years ago forced many people to wake up to the importance of preparing for whatever may come their way,” Hevert said. “This year’s findings suggest people are increasingly recognizing the importance of achieving a balance between meeting near-term financial goals and planning for the long term. Hopefully, this means that some important lessons have been learned, including avoiding costly moves such as tapping into a retirement nest egg simply to lower debt payments and have short-term cash on hand.”

Nearly 30 percent of survey participants indicated that though they made financial resolutions in the past, they did not follow them. Those surveyed said being able to calculate the benefits of the resolution, getting a reward for reaching the goal and breaking the large goal into more achievable goals would make sticking to the resolution easier.

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