This number has increased 31% since the study started in 2009. Commitments to keep financial resolutions also increased to an all-time high, with 62% of consumers saying they stuck with their resolutions in the past—up from a low of 58% in 2010.
For the second consecutive year, the top three New Year financial resolutions continue to be saving more (52%), spending less (19%) and paying off debt (19%). Of those who say saving more is their top priority, the median annual target is $2,400 for long- and short-term goals, the same as last year, and double the amount for 2010.
The majority of respondents (65%) continue to say they are saving for long-term goals, versus those saving for short-term goals (29%), based on a year-over-year analysis. The top long-term goal identified was saving more for retirement in a tax-advantaged/tax-deferred account (48%), such as an individual retirement account (IRA) or workplace savings plan, followed by saving for college (46%) and retiree health care costs (34%).
The continued focus on saving may be fueled by the fact that more consumers say they are in a worse financial situation (26%) and more in debt (17%) versus the same time last year.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents say keeping financial resolutions is harder than keeping nonfinancial resolutions (up from 30% in 2009). Despite this, respondents are making progress in reaching their resolution goals. Nearly half (46%) say they achieved more than 80% of their financial resolutions for 2012.
A telephone survey of 1,012 adults, 470 men and 542 women, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental U.S., was conducted November 9 to 13.