Survey Finds Increasing Savings Is Top Financial Goal In 2010

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As the new year quickly approaches and the economy starts to show signs of stabilizing, Americans are asking themselves what their top financial goals will be for 2010, said Edward Jones financial advisers Scott Flake, Ross Hage and Mike Blaes.

A recent survey from Edward Jones found 33 percent of Americans chose increasing savings as their top financial resolution for 2010.

Increase savings topped the list for both men and women, along with other financially focused resolutions such as paying down debt and putting more money into a child’s or grandchild’s education.

Other responses included contributing more money to a 401(k) or IRA plan and paying down a mortgage faster.

Interestingly, nearly twice as many men than women are planning to contribute more money to a retirement plan in 2010.

The study of 1,014 respondents, which was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Edward Jones, shows that age plays an influential factor in the results, as Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 and over the age of 65 are most concerned about increasing savings (37 percent and 38 percent respectively) while middle-aged respondents place a higher priority on paying down debt (ranging from 31 percent to 37 percent).

Older Americans (aged 65 and over) are most concerned with providing educational funding for their offspring (16 percent) but less concerned with paying down debt than their younger counterparts (18 percent vs. 37 percent).

In terms of geography, the south had the highest percentage of respondents who chose to increase savings but the lowest percentage who plan to contribute more money to their retirement plan. Meanwhile, Americans who live in the north central region consider paying down debt a higher priority than putting money into their child’s or grandchild’s education.

Differences in household income also had an impact on responses. Those with a household income of less than $35,000 were more likely to choose increase savings as their top financial goal than those with an income between $75,000 to $100,000.

American households with income less than $35,000 and more than $100,000 are evenly split (16 percent) when it comes to funding their child’s education.

The survey showed little difference in opinion based on education level, yet household size significantly shaped respondents’ views on contributing to a child’s education or retirement. Thirty-five percent of respondents with three family members or more rate paying down debt a top priority, compared to respondents with only two family members (25 percent).

The survey was based on telephone interviews of U.S. adults conducted between Dec. 3 and 6. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

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