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Financial planning not among most New Year’s resolutions

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Only 16 percent of Americans say they intend to include financial planning in their New Year’s resolutions for 2014. That’s less than half of the 33 percent who said they would make financial planning a high priority when making resolutions in 2009, according to a new survey from Allianz Life.

Nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. adults polled by the company say they are unsure about seeking financial advice in 2014, up from 44 percent the previous year. This percentage, the report indicates, points to greater sense of financial stability that Americans feel after receiving financial advice compared to past years.

The report adds that Americans are “shedding” bad financial habits. Compared to the 2012 survey results, fewer Americans polled this year say they are:

  • Spending too much money on things not needed (down to 26 percent in 2013 from 30 percent in 2012);
  • Not saving any money, (down to 27 percent from 30 percent); and
  • Spending more than they make (down to 14 percent from 18 percent).

Additionally, more people say they’re guilty of “none of these bad habits,” up to 28 percent in 2013 from 24 percent in 2012.

Although the top reason that Americans give for ignoring financial planning is a belief that they “don’t make enough to worry about it,” (30 percent) this response was down from 34 percent in 2009 and is the lowest level in the survey’s five-year history. In a bright spot, more people than ever (27 percent) say they already “have a solid financial plan,” up slightly from last year (26 percent) and a full 4 percent higher than the 2009 response.

The Americans surveyed again rank health and wellness as their most important focus area for 2014. At 43 percent, the rate was almost unchanged from 44 percent the previous year. Second most important is financial stability at 30 percent, followed by career/employment (15 percent), education (6 percent) and entertainment/leisure (5 percent). These results were at nearly the same level in preceding years.

The same emphasis can be seen in the resolutions that survey respondents believe they are most likely to keep. Exercise and diet come in first at 43 percent, down slightly from 44 percent last year but still average for the five years of the survey. Managing money better comes in second with 40 percent, also on par with the five-year trend.


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