When considering any NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, we have always been amused at the waistline vs wallet warfare as we want to REDUCE the former and GROW the latter. Our domestic “end of the year oaths” segment of this Scope will consider this belt buckle$ vs bucko$ issue (using Fidelity, Chas Schwab and Allianz studies). Then, we shall move across the pond to view the European consumer/saver/spender w/o regard to inches as we shall review the ING study which strictly is a matter of pound$.
Given our interest in NEW YR’S RESOLUTIONS in general, it is interesting to note that 51% of those who made a resolution at the start of ’14 actually felt better off financially while ONLY 38% of these who did NOT make a resolution felt better off! Once the resolution is made, the maker MUST still walk the talk. We offer that the resolution, itself is an initial step which is akin to a verbal contract and as a result the statement/resolution maker will likely feel committed. Here are some other findings about NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION making:
- Chas Schwab found that 57% of adults did NOT feel that they were atop their finances. Having said that, 37% wanted to get in shape/lose weight with 36% wanting to get their finances in check. Relatedly, 38% wanted to hire a “personal trainer” versus 36% wanting to hire a “financial planner”. (Get the message?)
- In a similar study Allianz found that for 2015 resolutions, exercise/diet 42% of Americans felt they needed NEW YR RESOLUTIONS vs the 40% who considered money management as worthy of resolutions.
Given the Schwab and Allianz studies, it’s obvious that when it comes to NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, that Americans give their PHYSICAL HEALTH a higher priority than their FINANICAL HEALTH.
FIDELITY’$ FINANCIAL FINDING$
About a year ago as 2014 was on the horizon, 43% of all Fidelity study respondents considered a financial resolution vs ONLY 31% as 2015 looms in the background. Of those considering a financial resolution, 55% wanted to SAVE MORE, 20% wanted to PAY OFF DEBT and 17% wanted to SPEND LESS. For further consideration, these 3 financial resolutions are the BIG 3 of financial resolutions. Other Fidelity findings included:
- The desire to develop a plan to reach LONGER financial planning goals. In 2011 6% of Americans wanted a LONGER plan. For 2015 14% of our fellow countrymen have claimed such a goal. (LONGER PLANNING is good!)
- Of the 55% who wanted to SAVE MORE, almost 6 in 10 (57%) wished to focus on LONG term goals vs SHORT term goals. (LONG is better than SHORT)
- Despite the fact that there is a decline in financial resolutions for 2015, an increasing % of Americans feel better about their finances. 41% of them said that they felt better this yr while 39% said that last year.(We believe it’s a rising econ tide that lifts most boat$ story)
- The YOUNGEST age group, MILLENNIALS, (18-34 yrs) felt the best (over 50%) about their finances with BOOMERS (50-68yrs) and SENIORS (69 yrs+ older) feeling worse . (We wonder if it is youthful exuberance speaking or again the rising tide of today’s econ waves in combination of a longer time horizon?)
- Not ONLY did those who actually made a financial resolution for the new yr feel “better off” financially, but 42% of those who made one said, that it is easier to keep THEM than such resolutions that relate to “exercising” or “give up smoking.”
AROUND THE WORLD OF FINANCIAL RESOLUTION$
While ING restated the obvious that NW YR RESOLUTIONS are often about ”kicking an unhealthy habit” (smoking, no exercise), nonetheless its European study found that a whopping 77% of European Consumers said that they wanted to make a financial resolution for the NW YR. That ¾+ of European respondents were variously distributed throughout the studied nations. Turkey, France, & Romania had the highest %s with 80%, 83%, & 81%, respectively. The lowest %s were produced by UK (68%), Austria (68%), & Germany (69%). ING also discovered that European MILLENNIALS (18yrs-34yrs) had the highest proclivity to make financial resolutions, 82%/83%. Those from the 35-54 yr age group had the next greatest likelihood (77%/78%) with the oldest group (55 and older) having the least likelihood (69%) of making financial NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS. Other European resolutions included the BIG 3 of financial resolutions as earlier presented in the US studies.
- 38% were going to SAVE MORE led by the UK’s 50%, Italy (43%) & Germany (42%). The 3 biggest were Turkey (28%), Romania (29%) and the Czech Republic (30%)
- Of the 28% that were going to REDUCE DEBT , Turkey’s 36%, Poland (35%) and Romania (33%) led the way with Luxemburg (18%), Belgium (18%) and the Netherlands (19%) lagging the way.
- Of the 30% who were resolving to SPEND LESS, Luxemburg led with 40% then came France (38%) followed by Romania at 36% with UK (15%), Germany (21%) and the Netherlands at 22% lagging the way.
We finish this Scope with a comparison b/t US & European financial resolutions for 2015 using the BIG 3 of financial resolutions. (Caveat Emptor – It is difficult at best to compare studies from different firms of different populations from different countries, etc. Nonetheless, FULL SPEED AHEAD!) Furthermore, the econ-emotional tide is so much different b/t the US and Europe, today. The US’ economy is ebullient, uplifting and prospective, Europe’s economy is recessionary with Germany being the TUG for most of Europe. US resolvers can afford to look towards long run financial planning and saving with unemployment below 6%, consumer confidence & record stock market upsurges, wage increases on the horizon AND gas prices at remarkable lows. Europe is a whole different economy. We can afford to SAVE and not be so concerned about SPENDING LESS, as for Europe NOT SO MUCH!
T-1: A Comparison of the BIG 3 Financial Resolutions B/T the US & Europe
HPPY NW YR!