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Fidelity® Research Finds Americans Vow to Double Annual Savings Goal in 2012
Paying Off Debt Surges into Top Three Financial ResolutionsBOSTON – An annual studyi from Fidelity Investments®, the leader in helping Americans save for retirementii, finds that nearly half (46 percent) of those considering a financial resolution for 2012 say saving more is their top priority, with a median annual target of $2,400 for long- and short-term goals, double last year’s goal of $1,200.
For the third consecutive year, the top two resolutions continue to be saving more (46 percent) and spending less (21 percent). However, paying off debt jumped into the top three with 19 percent considering this goal for 2012 – replacing making a budget. Paying off debt was the seventh most popular resolution last year, with 8 percent of those with financial resolutions considering it. Based on the survey findings, Americans are already taking this resolution seriously, with nearly one-third (29 percent) saying they are in less debt today compared with the same time last yeariii.
“The results of this survey indicate that many Americans are continuing to put their financial houses back in order with some very positive financial strategies,” said Ken Hevert, vice president, Fidelity Investments. “In these uncertain economic times, Fidelity can help investors focus on financial aspects of their lives that they can control – like creating long- and short-term saving plans, building an emergency fund and developing a budget to determine areas where spending can be reduced.”
Saving for Retirement Continues to Lead Long-Term Savings Goals
In a year-over-year comparison, respondents continue to say saving for long-term goals (62 percent) outweighs short-term goals (34 percent). The top long-term goal cited was saving more for retirement in an individual retirement account (IRA) or workplace savings plan (52 percent). This goal was followed by saving for college (45 percent) and retiree health care costs (37 percent).
Key short-term savings goals shifted from last year, showing a change in priorities for many respondents. The biggest increases were seen in saving for a household upgrade or repair (up significantly to 45 percent from 26 percent last year), building an emergency fund (up to 65 percent from 50 percent last year) and saving for a home (up to 32 percent from 22 percent last year). Significant decreases were found in saving for a vehicle purchase (down to 35 percent from 57 percent last year) or a luxury item (down to 5 percent from 19 percent last year).
Economy Continues to Play Major Role in Making and Sticking to Financial Resolutions
With 84 percent of respondents saying that the economy is already in or likely to suffer a double-dip recession, investor confidence has been shaken. In fact, nearly 4-in-10 (39 percent) say they are not confident in their ability to make the right investment decisions given the current economy and market volatility.
On the other hand, market conditions are also having a positive effect on many Americans. More than 8-in-10 (85 percent) Americans who are resolved to save more say their current savings behavior is likely to continue as the economy recovers. This is up from 80 percent last year. Additionally, the majority (66 percent) of those considering a financial resolution say the economic events of the past year will help them stick with the resolutions made in 2011.
“There is no better time to commit to a new financial goal than with the start of a New Year,” said Hevert. “Regardless of the goal, Fidelity can provide the guidance, tools and resources to help investors achieve success in 2012 and beyond.”
Fidelity Offers New Viewpoints Article for Those Considering Financial Resolutions
To help investors make meaningful financial resolutions this year, Fidelity published a new Viewpoints article today titled “12 ways to save more and spend less in 2012.” The article outlines a dozen ways to reduce debt and save more in the New Year.
In addition to this article, Fidelity offers a suite of award-winningiv planning tools and calculators, which can now be found in a central location at www.fidelity.com/retirement/calculators. This Web page includes the Income Strategy Evaluator, which launched earlier this year, and other popular calculators and tools such as Retirement Quick Check and Retirement Income Planner.
For more retirement information, investors can call 1-800-FIDELITY, visit www.fidelity.com, or meet with a representative at one of Fidelity’s 164 Investor Centers nationwide.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.4 trillion, including managed assets of $1.5 trillion, as of October 31, 2011. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
Income Strategy Evaluator, Retirement Quick Check and Retirement Income Planner are educational tools.