Despite the troubling economic events of the last year, the current market conditions are actually having a positive effect on Americans' financial habits in the long run.
Money is on the minds of Americans more than ever, with almost half (46%) wanting to save more in 2012. And not just a little more, their goal is to save about twice as much as last year’s goal of $1,200, according to an annual study by Fidelity Investments.
In 2012, Americans’ financial resolutions are to save more and spend less — the top two for three consecutive years. Paying off debt, which was number seven last year, came in at number three with 19%. According to the survey, Americans are taking their debt seriously and 29% reported that they are in less debt now than a year ago.
“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,” Ken Hevert, vice president of Fidelity Investments said in a statement.
The economic events of the last year have really affected Americans, with 66% saying that the events of 2011 helped them stick with the financial resolutions they made at the beginning of the year.
Long-term savings goals are more important to Americans than short-term ones (62% to 34%). However, there were some major changes to what short-term goals Americans think are most important. There were large increases in saving for a household upgrade or repair (up significantly to 45%from 26%), building an emergency fund (up to 65% from 50%) and saving for a home (up to 32% from 22%).
The majority (84%) said the economy is in or is likely to suffer a double-dip recession, but the current market conditions are actually having a positive effect in the long run. Eighty-five percent who want to save more said that their current savings behavior is likely to continue as the economy recovers.
“There is no better time to commit to a new financial goal than with the start of a New Year,” said Hevert.