4 Ways Americans Are Getting Smarter About Their Money

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From a devastating pandemic to the tragic invasion of Ukraine, it seems like much has gone wrong in the world during the past two years.

Yet, hard times often come with a silver lining: They help clear away the trivial and force us to focus on what really matters.

Many Americans now are thinking a little more wisely about their money, according to a recent survey from Fidelity Investments.

The publication asked more than 2,500 adults about their money habits and found that 63% say they have changed their investing approach in some way since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fidelity characterizes their financial attitudes as “evolving” — and in a good way. Following are the ways Americans are getting smarter about their money.

They are preparing for emergencies

senior man saving for emergency fund
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The pandemic — and the widespread job losses that came with it — reminded us about the value of having a cash cushion when tough times make an unwelcome return.

Survey respondents say they now would rather put money toward an emergency fund (65%) than spend it on a vacation (35%).

For more, check out “9 Tips for Starting an Emergency Fund Today.”

They are building retirement savings

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Numerous studies have indicated that Americans are woefully behind in saving for retirement. But such procrastination may be ending.

By a large margin, survey respondents say they are determined to save money for retirement (79%) rather than save money for a wedding or another big event (21%).

They are delaying gratification

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One of the most difficult things in life is learning to delay gratification today so you can have a better, more prosperous future tomorrow.

But most survey respondents now hope to embrace that philosophy. More say they would rather contribute $100 toward their 401(k) (62%) than spend the money on a feel-good purchase (38%).

Waiting to take Social Security is one example of how delaying gratification can have a huge payoff. For more, check out “7 Reasons Not to Take Social Security at Age 62.”

They have changed how they view workplace benefits

Workers of all ages
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The newfound emphasis on saving for retirement has spilled over into how today’s workers view their employer benefits. Among survey respondents, 57% would prefer a higher company match on their current retirement plan over additional paid time off (43%).

In addition, over half (56%) would prefer a strong retirement plan match over full-time remote work (44%).

Learn how to get your finances in order

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If you have a desire to strengthen your money moxie but don’t know where to start, enroll in the Money Talks News course Money Made Simple.

This 14-week course offers lessons about an array of money basics, including:

  • Budgeting
  • Banking
  • Credit
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Investing
  • Real estate
  • Estate planning

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson teaches the course. After finishing these lessons, you will be ready to manage money more efficiently while spending less time getting the results you want.

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