MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Although only five years have passed since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, many Americans seem to have forgotten the trauma it caused to their portfolios and may now have a false sense of security about their current financial well-being, according to the 5th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life). Only 16% of respondents said they would include financial planning in their resolutions for 2014, less than half of the 33% who said they would make financial planning a high priority when making resolutions in 2009, the first year of the Allianz Life survey. Furthermore, nearly half (49%) of U.S. adults surveyed said they are unsure about seeking financial advice in 2014, up from 44% the previous year.
One reason people feel more financially stable is due to an expressed trend that they are shedding some of their bad financial habits. Fewer of the Americans surveyed said: l am “spending too much money on things not needed,” (down from 30% in 2012 to 26% in 2013), I am “not saving any money,” (down from 30% to 27%) and I am “spending more than I make,” (down from 18% to 14%). Additionally, more people said they are guilty of “none of these bad habits” – up to 28% in 2013 from 24% in 2012.
“Though Americans say their financial habits are improving, which is good, being a little smarter with money is not the same as true financial planning,” said Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life. “Being more disciplined about spending and saving can certainly have a positive effect on financial stability, but that shouldn’t be confused with financial planning. People need to take the next step and turn better habits into longer term-planning.”
Although the top reason the Americans surveyed gave for why they are going to ignore financial planning was a belief that they “don’t make enough to worry about it,” (30%) this response was down from 34% in 2009 and is the lowest level in the survey’s five year history. In a bright spot, more people than ever (27%) said they already “have a solid financial plan,” up slightly from last year (26%) and a full 4% higher than the 2009 response.
Unbroken trend: fitness before finance
In the grand tradition of New Year’s resolutions, excluding faith and family, Americans surveyed again ranked health and wellness as their most important focus area for 2014. At 43%, the rate was almost unchanged from 44% the previous year. Second most important was financial stability at 30%, followed by career/employment (15%), education (6%) and entertainment/leisure (5%) These results were at nearly the same level in preceding years.
The same emphasis could be seen in the resolutions that Americans surveyed believe they are most likely to keep. Exercise and diet came in first at 43%, down slightly from 44% the year before but still average for the five years of the survey. Managing money better came in second with 40%, also on par with the five-year trend. As in earlier years, spending more time with family and friends, volunteering and stopping a bad habit followed in that order.
About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2013, has been keeping its promises since 1896. Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and life insurance products. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with 142,000 employees worldwide. More than 78 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most of financial opportunities.
*Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America conducted an eNation online survey, the Allianz Life New Year’s Resolution Survey, November 2013, through Ipsos with 1,000 respondents.