Younger Workers More Focused on Fiscal Fitness

Fiscal fitness, not physical fitness, is a slightly higher priority for younger adults than for older adults, according to a survey commissioned by Union Bank.

However, only a few adults mentioned meeting with a financial adviser as how they plan to get in fiscal shape, according to a press release of the results. Nearly half (45%) of respondents indicated they plan to save money on a monthly basis through their existing bank accounts. Only a small number of adults said they intend to contribute to a new savings account (15%) and/or meet with a financial adviser to maximize their savings through tax-deferred accounts (14%).

The survey found 59% of respondents ages 18 to 34 are focused more intently on achieving fiscal fitness rather than physical fitness in 2009 (41%). In contrast, 61% of adults age 55 and older said physical fitness was a high priority for 2009, and 39% selected fiscal fitness.

In addition, fewer older adults (38% of those age 55 and older) expressed interest in ways to save automatically than Americans age 18 to 34 (46%), which Union Bank said may account for the older group’s sense that attaining fiscal fitness is harder today than achieving physical fitness (72%).

The survey revealed that 72% of adults age 34 to 55 believe they do not have enough money saved in the proper accounts to make it through the next year. In addition, nearly half of those surveyed (45%) said that if they had access to a large amount of money without penalty, paying off debt would be their top priority rather than saving money or making a large purchase such as a home, car, or vacation.

For many respondents, a significant barrier to saving money is a lack of extra funds at the end of the month, a sentiment especially strong among women age 35 to 44 (70%).

Harris Interactive fielded the study from December 5 to 9, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,137 adults aged 18 years and older.