The early part of the year can be a good time for individuals to look at their financial strategies and see how they can improve upon them. With so much time ahead, many may look to get to a better budgeting and savings standing down the line, which could help better secure a strong financial future.
More than half of Americans are looking to keep up with a financial resolution for 2014, according to a report from Fidelity Investments. This is approximately half the level it was when the first edition of the poll was released in 2009.
Some people may be starting off 2014 in a better spot than they were in 2013. The report explained that 26 percent of those surveyed felt they improved themselves compared to last year’s level. Just 19 percent said the same thing at the beginning of 2013.
“These findings suggest individuals are taking more control over financial matters, leading them to feel better about their personal situations, which is a great way to ring in the New Year,” said Ken Hevert, vice president of retirement products at Fidelity Investments. “Making financial resolutions, such as saving more and paying off debt, 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.”
The most common response from Americans regarding how they would improve their finances was through saving more money, as 54 percent noted this, the report explained. Close to one-quarter stressed that they would pay down their debt, while cutting spending levels was the top response from 19 percent of those polled.
Lowering debt levels was notably popular, despite not having the top spot. The report showed that in 2010, interest in cutting debt was at 8 percent. Since then, it has now passed curbing spending, which was in second place last year.
Positive financial sentiment builds among Americans
Many people are looking toward their financial future, and there may be a notable rise in confidence when it comes to their current financial situation and overall plan.
Close to 90 percent of Americans felt they know how to navigate financial decisions that are exceedingly important, according to a report completed jointly between Allstate and the National Journal. Another 77 percent have confidence in being able to know the ins and outs of acquiring a new home, while a similar number reported strong confidence in their road to retirement. Nearly two-thirds explained they have faith that they could be able to properly create an inheritance.
“Despite the headwinds we continue to face, the resilience of the American people is alive and well,” said Sanjay Gupta, executive vice president of marketing, innovation and corporate relations for Allstate. “It is this American trait and tradition of individual responsibility – more specifically, the ability to control one’s financial decisions and destiny – that makes this country unique and continues to be the foundation of our culture, political, and financial system.”
Spending may increase for some
Even with multiple reports noting a decline in the level of spending, there may be some who are looking to increase this part of their financial strategy, as they become more comfortable. According to a report from RetailMeNot.com, 39 percent of those polled felt they focus on spending more than savings.
However, there are some who are trying to shop smartly. The report added that two-thirds felt they would be more interested in stores offering deals this year than last.