In 2016, other than faith and family, Americans have their sights set on wellness above all else according to the 7th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.
Almost half (44 percent) of respondents reported their top focus for 2016 will be on health/wellness, with financial stability trailing at 29 percent of those surveyed. These focus areas came ahead of career/employment (13 percent), education (9 percent) and entertainment/leisure (5 percent).
Though health/wellness topped the list of focus areas for respondents, when asked which New Year’s resolutions they are most likely to make and actually keep, health and finances ranked almost equally. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they are most likely to make and keep their resolution of diet/exercise and 41 percent resolve to manage money better.
And yet, nearly one in three respondents didn’t include financial planning in their resolutions because they “don’t make enough money to worry about it.”
Aligning with their New Year’s resolutions, respondents are more open to getting help with their financial decisions despite the fact that their top focus is wellness. If given free access to professional guidance, more respondents chose: a financial professional (37 percent) than a nutritionist/dietician (28 percent) or a personal trainer (23 percent).
Additionally, in terms of taking action, respondents believe the top three things that could improve their finances in 2016 are building their savings for emergencies, paying off credit card debt and making a budget.
Respondents in this year’s survey admit to having bad financial habits to overcome, namely issues with saving and spending, including:
Spending too much money on things “I don’t need” (29 percent),
Saving some money, “but not as much as I could” (28 percent),
Not saving any money (26 percent) and;
Spending “more than I make” (19 percent).
“Similar to wellness in general, financial health can be significantly improved by making small, consistent changes,” says Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights, Katie Libbe. “Eliminating or reducing your bad financial habits is a great starting point and can deliver big dividends over the long haul.”
See the charts beginning on the next page for additional highlights from the survey.