‘Seeking Financial Help’ Top 401k Participant Resolution

'Spending too much' topped list of bad financial habits

The word for the year was worry.The word for the year was worry.

The election outcome was a major worry for American in 2016, both before and after it was decided. And despite increased stress levels in 2016, Americans remain optimistic about their personal finances for the coming year, according to the annual New Year’s Resolution Survey from Allianz Life.

The survey reported that 42 percent of Americans reported being more stressed in 2016 than in 2015, an increase from last year. Reflecting on 2016 and the main issues that kept them up at night, most respondents cited the election outcome as their top worry–above terrorism, identity theft or stagnant wages.

In contrast, when asked how the respondents thought the election results will affect finances after the results were in, the majority had a positive or neutral outlook. Nearly one third were optimistic that they will make money in the near future and 23 percent believed their finances will not be impacted at all by the election outcome.

The rest of the respondents reported a negative outlook – 24 percent were pessimistic, thinking they will probably lose money in the near future, and 21 percent were terrified the market will crash leading to another great recession.

More respondents claimed they would seek professional help with their finances. Nearly one in three of those surveyed claimed they would be more likely to seek advice from a financial professional in 2017, the highest percentage in the study’s history (the lowest percentage of respondents open to seeking financial advice was 19 percent in 2013).

Respondents also chose financial professional as the top professional they would access if they could do so for free, ahead of nutritionist/dietician, personal trainer, lawyer or therapist.

The top bad financial habit for 2016 was “spending too much money on things I don’t need”, followed by “saving some, but not as much as I could” and “not saving any money.”

“Spending too much” also topped the list of bad financial habits in 2015.

Implementing financial improvements in 2017 may also support the most common New Year’s resolution—getting healthier. Beyond finances, overall wellness was top of mind for many as they look ahead to the New Year. When asked about focus areas in 2017, Americans ranked health/wellness first followed by financial stability and career/employment.

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