Americans More Confident in Their Finances

The majority think they will be even better off financially in 2017.

Forty-five percent of people who Fidelity Investments surveyed said they are better off financially this year than they were in 2015. This is the highest level since Fidelity started this survey eight years ago. Seventy percent believe they will be better off financially in 2017, and 36% have set at least one financial goal for next year.

Asked what their financial goal for 2017 is, 50% said to save more, 28% said to pay down debt, and 16% said to spend less.

Despite their optimistic outlook on their personal financial situation, 65% are worried about unexpected expenses, and 62% are concerned about the economy.

Among those thinking about the long term, 64% want to save more for retirement in an individual retirement account (IRA) or 401(k) plan. Among those thinking about the short term, 72% want to sock away more money in an emergency fund.

Those who had a financial goal at the start of this year are, accordingly, in better shape than those who did not. Fifty-two percent of this group think they will be better off financially in 2017, 42% said they had pared down their debt, and 52% said their financial situation had improved from 2015.

“The fact is, people who make resolutions on money tend to feel better about the state of their finances and are generally in better financial shape than those who don’t,” says Ken Hevert, senior vice president of retirement at Fidelity. “The start of a New Year is the perfect time to review your financial plan. Even if you don’t like making specific resolutions, you can still resolve to identify financial areas that might need some improvement and make some smart financial moves before December 31.”

ORC International conducted the telephone survey of 2,015 people for Fidelity in October.