New Year’s Resolutions 2011: Richer or Skinnier?

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Next month, nearly half of all Americans say they'll make resolutions to get both financially and physically fit - but most expect to fail at one of them.

You can never be too rich or too thin, the expression goes. But when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, we often vow to be both – even though we probably know we won’t stick to the plan.

But as the recession lingers, we’re making more financial resolutions, according to a couple new surveys.

“The number of Americans who are considering financial New Year resolutions has jumped to 42 percent, up from 35 percent last year,” Fidelity Investments announced last week. Some of those resolutions include…

  • save more for retirement in an individual retirement account (IRA) or a workplace savings plan (53 percent)
  • build an emergency fund (50 percent)
  • pay down credit cards (49 percent)
  • save more for college (42 percent)

But like resolutions about dieting and working out, will these January resolutions fail by February? Most likely. Life insurance company Allianz conducted its own resolutions research and posed a neat question: If you had your choice, would you hire a financial planner or a personal trainer? Financial planner appealed to 44 percent of Americans the company questioned, while personal trainer got only 26 percent.

But “only 33 percent of the Allianz Life survey respondents indicated that they will actually include a financial plan in their list of 2011 resolutions.” The No. 1 reason? “I don’t make enough money to worry about it.”

“People who don’t believe they make enough money to plan for their financial futures are potentially jeopardizing their financial safety and security,” said Katie Libbe, who leads Consumer Insights at Allianz Life. “It’s alarming that people still lack the confidence to manage their own finances and feel trepidation about getting more involved in the financial planning process. There’s a wealth of information, resources, and financial expertise available – and no valid reason for people not to take advantage of it.”

Indeed, you can find much of it here at Money Talks News. At the start of every year, we do plenty of stories that will help you set realistic resolutions and keep them. Keep coming back!

Stacy Johnson

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