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Despite Strong Consumer Sentiment, Financial Factors Weigh on Spending

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People may be more optimistic about their finances and/or the economy in general, but that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on reining in their holiday spending or planning for the future.

So says a study from Edward Jones, which finds instead that how much people spend will still be subject to economic trends. In fact, 42% of respondents said that they’d change their holiday budgets by taking into account external factors including tax cuts, rising interest rates, recent tariffs and market volatility.

Although they’re not becoming Scrooges for the season—64% say they’ll be spending as much or more than they did last year—they’re not exactly throwing caution to the winds, either. Some of those concerns are causing 38% to say that paying down existing debt is a higher priority than saving or paying for holiday purchases; just 30% reversed those priorities.

And 68% intend to shop out of their checking accounts, instead of on credit, with 46% saying they’ll use coupons and special deals to cut down on what they spend.

“There were a number of market events in 2018 that prompted investors to potentially reassess their finances,” Scott Thoma, principal and retirement strategist at Edward Jones, said in a statement.

Thoma added, “While recent volatility may not have a lasting impact on investors’ portfolios, it’s encouraging to see they are taking a step back and ensuring they remain on track for their financial goals, and potentially updating their holiday spending budgets accordingly.”

It might be surprising to learn that 56% of Americans say they’d rather spend an hour reviewing their financial plan with a professional rather than stand in the checkout line waiting to purchase a gift. And 48% would rather have a $1,000 investment portfolio of stocks and bonds rather than $1,000 in material items such as new clothes, video games and entertainment systems.


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