Financial Resolutions Survey & Report 2017
- December 5, 2016
- Posted by: Dave Rathmanner
- Category: Personal Finance
The New Year is creeping up on us.
In just a few weeks we will be leaving 2016 behind for a brand new 2017. At the end of each year we as humans like to look back and evaluate our life choices. Here at LendEDU we are looking back at an eventful 2016 and in the process of planning out our 2017 goals.
During our monthly meeting we decided to talk about some of our personal resolutions for 2017. Being a personal finance company, much of our conversation centered around financial resolutions. This got us thinking.
Are financial resolutions common? How are others thinking about financial resolutions? Do financial resolutions work? (note: we answered these questions and more in Our Observations)
During our meeting we brainstormed 17 questions around financial resolutions. And earlier this month we commissioned a survey of 1,001 Americans who are actually setting financial resolutions for 2017.
Our goal was to find out what our fellow Americans are thinking about heading 2017. We wanted to find out what financial resolutions are important to people and how people are feeling about their finances heading into the new year.
Overall, the results of our survey are quite interesting and surprisingly uplifting.
LendEDU’s Financial Resolutions for 2017 Study Results
1. Which of the following do you consider your most important financial resolution in 2017?
- Save more money - 52.85%
- Pay off debt - 35.56%
- Spend less money - 11.59%
2. Specifically, which of the following do you consider your top financial resolution for 2017?
- Make & stick to a Budget - 21.38%
- Save for a large purchase such as a downpayment, household upgrade, or car, etc. - 19.28%
- Pay down credit card debt - 18.88%
- Place money aside for an emergency fund - 16.58%
- Save for retirement - 13.69%
- Pay down student loan debt - 7.29%
- Save for college - 2.90%
3. What is your top financial concern going into 2017?
- Unexpected expenses - 53.25%
- Healthcare costs - 23.98%
- Higher interest rates - 9.69%
- The labor market - 7.79%
- Stock market fluctuations - 5.29%
4. Do you believe that you will be better off financially in 2017, compared to 2016?
- Yes - 78.32%
- No - 21.68%
5. Did you set a financial resolution for 2016?
- Yes - 41.26%
- No - 58.74%
6. Did you meet or exceed your financial resolution in 2016? Note: we only asked this question to individuals reporting that they did set a financial resolution for 2016.
- Yes, I met or exceeded my goal - 57.59%
- No, I did not meet my goal - 42.41%
7. Do you feel more financially secure today than you did a year ago?
- Yes, I feel more secure - 64.64%
- No, I feel less secure - 35.36%
8. Do you make financial resolutions with your spouse or significant other? Note: we only asked this question to individuals reporting that they did have a spouse or significant other.
- Yes - 84.83%
- No - 15.17%
9. What would make you stick to your financial resolution?
- Having a reward for reaching the goal - 37.56%
- Segmenting a longer term goal into smaller bit sized pieces - 20.08%
- Technology that helps you save money or monitor goals in real-time - 19.38%
- The encouragement of family and friends - 13.99%
- Having a consequence for not reaching the goal - 8.99%
10. Do you feel comfortable talking about your financial resolution with friends and family?
- Yes - 68.13%
- No - 31.87%
11. Do you think rising interest rates will be positive or negative for your financial situation?
- Positive impact - 24.48%
- Negative - 52.35%
- No opinion or impact - 23.18%
12. Do you think that you will increase your contributions to your retirement savings this year?
- Yes - 63.24%
- No - 36.76%
13. Do you plan on refinancing debt (mortgage, student loans, credit cards) within the next year?
- Yes - 36.06%
- No - 63.94%
14. Are you in less debt this year (2016), vs. last year (2015)?
- Yes - 64.04%
- No - 35.96%
15. Do you wish you learned more about personal finance in high school and/or college?
- Yes, I didn’t learn enough - 71.43%
- No, I was taught the right amount - 28.57%
16. Do you currently use technology, a website or application, to help you monitor and manage your finances?
- Yes - 58.34%
- No - 41.66%
Most people do meet or exceed their financial resolutions.
Of the respondents who set a financial resolution in 2016, 57.59% of these individuals met or exceeded their 2016 goal.
87.03% of people who met or exceeded their 2016 financial resolution now feel more financially secure than they did a year ago. And, 83.68% of people who met or exceeded their 2016 financial resolution are in less debt this year (2016), vs. last year (2015).
Simply put, if you set and meet a financial resolution you will feel more financially secure and be in less debt.
We set financial resolutions with spouses and significant others.
Surprising, 84.83% of respondents make their financial resolutions with their spouse or significant other. Note: we only asked this question to individuals reporting that they did have a spouse or significant other.
Personal finance is often a touchy subject, but we were happy to see financial speak happening inside of a relationship.
We found that couples who make financial resolutions together are more likely to meet or exceed their goals. In addition, we found that couples who make financial resolutions together feel more financially secure and are in less debt.
Finances are one of the leading causes for divorce in the United States. By talking openly about your financial goals, couples can avoid stress and excel financially.
Humans are optimistic.
An astounding 78.32% of our respondents believe that they will be better off financially in 2017, compared to 2016. Will all of the uncertainty ahead (politics, higher interest rates, fragile economy) we as people look forward to the future with a positive lens.
It was refreshing for our team to see such as majority of respondents looking forward to their financial future.
Interestingly, of the 21.68% respondents who believe that they will be worst off in 2017, 68.66% of these people feel less financially secure than they did a year ago.
Higher interest rates are worrisome.
Higher interest rates are on the way in 2017. Unfortunately, 52.35% of our respondents believe that rising interest rates will have a negative impact on their financial situation. Moreover, 9.69% of respondents listed higher interest rates as their top financial concern going into 2017.
36.06% of our respondents are planning on refinancing debt (mortgage, student loans, credit cards) within the next year. Higher interest rates could make refinancing less attractive and more expensive for these consumers.
We need more personal finance education.
71.43% of our respondents told us that they didn’t learn enough and wished that they learned more about personal finance in high school and/or college. If you’ve read other reports from our team, you know that this is a recurring theme. Only 17 states require personal finance education at the high school level. At LendEDU, we believe that we need to invest in teaching the core concepts of personal finance to all high school students.
FinTech is important for consumers.
We found that 19.38% of respondents stated that technology would be the most powerful tool in helping to stick to a financial resolution. Financial technology can be used for good. At LendEDU, we will continue to work to save consumer money and reach their financial goals.
The survey was conducted to 1,001 individuals 18 years and older living in the United States. The survey was distributed equally to males and females. The survey data was collected from December 1st through December 2nd.
We used a filtering question to find only individuals who plan on setting financial resolutions. We did not verify the accuracy of the data provided by the respondents. We asked the respondents to answer the questions honestly.