MINNEAPOLIS – Dec. 18, 2017 – Looking ahead to the new year, more than a third of Americans (36%) believe another major recession may be in the cards for 2018, according to the 9th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®). With this outlook in mind, Americans plan to focus more on their financial stability (71%) than health/wellness (67%) in the new year. In fact, 42% included manage better/save more in their 2018 new year’s resolutions, which increased compared to 37% reported in 2016.
Despite concerns about the economy and their desire to establish financial stability, the study also found that respondents were still more optimistic about making money in the near future (39%) than pessimistic about losing money (23%). This level of optimism increased from 32% in 2016.
“While Americans are concerned about the future state of the economy, the silver lining is they want to take action and control of their own financial fate,” said Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Paul Kelash. “Even though one-third worry about a potential recession, optimism still rules the day.”
Improving Finances with Better Habits
When asked about what they would do to improve their finances in 2018, Americans first want to build an emergency fund. This was followed by paying down credit cards, making a budget, and increasing retirement savings. However, respondents also admitted to having some financial hurdles to overcome. The worst financial habit reported was “spending too much money on things I don’t need” (32%), which was the highest percentage reported since 2012. Other bad financial habits include: “not saving any money (29%),” “saving some money, but not as much as I could (24%),” and “not paying down debt fast enough” (23%).
Open to Professional Support and Online Resources
To overcome their bad financial habits, the study found that Americans are open to getting help. If given the opportunity to have free access, more Americans would first pick a financial professional (28%) over a therapist (19%), nutritionist/dietician (18%), lawyer (15%), personal trainer (12%), or career counselor (7%). Nearly a third (32%) of the respondents also claimed they would more likely seek the advice of a financial professional in 2018.
Beyond utilizing a professional for financial help, online tools also gained some momentum. The study found that 23% of respondents reported they will use online resources more in the next year and 31% plan to continue using them as much as they did in 2017.
“The start of a New Year is an ideal time to take action and develop a financial strategy for both short- and long-term goals,” added Kelash. “Attaining financial stability should remain top of mind, no matter what the economy has in store for 2018.”