Getting Financially Fit in 2015

More than Cardio Needed to Maintain Financial Stability


Date: December 31, 2014
Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514, pdg@nefe.org

DENVER—Quitting smoking and slimming the waistline might have to make way at the top of resolution lists this year. A recent survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) finds nearly seven in 10 (64 percent) of adults in the top 10 U.S. markets will make a financially-focused goal in 2015. The survey also finds that one in three (31 percent) rate the current quality of their financial life as worse than they expect it to be. The survey was conducted online in November by Harris Poll on behalf of NEFE, among over 2,000 U.S. adults from the top 10 United States markets (by population).

Staying in strong financial shape goes beyond budgeting and making timely payments, as the data suggests a swift and savvy response to managing unexpected shocks is paramount. When faced with an unforeseen major expense (of which 63 percent said they experienced in 2014), Americans still rely on credit card use above all else at 36 percent. Yet many are realizing the benefit of an emergency savings account, as 32 percent would use this option. Since nearly half of respondents (48 percent) qualify themselves as living paycheck to paycheck, financial agility planned ahead of time is necessary to stay on track with resolutions.

 
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“To be successful with your financial resolutions in the New Year it’s important to set thoughtful, yet realistic, goals,” says Paul Golden, spokesperson for NEFE. “If your goal is to take on credit card debt, certainly you should pay off the balance that has the highest interest rate. However there is a benefit in paying off the card with the smallest balance because you get an immediate sense of accomplishment. Likewise with an emergency savings, set a small goal like $500 dollars to show yourself that you can actually achieve that goal then set the bar higher.”

Respondents in the NEFE survey cited the most prevalent financial setbacks in 2014 as transportation issues (22 percent), housing repairs (21 percent), and the inability to keep up with debt and falling behind on bill payments (16 percent). Additionally, the survey finds the top anticipated expenses for 2015 include paying off debt (38 percent), home improvement and maintenance (33 percent), and transportation-related expenses (33 percent).

As with any resolution, lofty goals are soon forgotten before January comes to an end. But with financial resolutions, a buddy can help. A past NEFE study found 85 percent believe having someone who understands their financial goals and can assist in holding them accountable would be helpful.

“A financial buddy can be anyone: a spouse, a trusted friend, a family member or a co-worker, and it doesn’t have to be someone with whom you share all of your financial information,” says Golden. “The greatest characteristics of a financial buddy will be someone who shares the same values and vision and someone who can bring perspective to the financial highs and lows that you experience.”

What’s Behind Your Financial Decisions?

Ever wonder why you feel good about spending money on vacations, but avoid saving for retirement? Why you buy new golf clubs, but procrastinate when it comes to giving your kids an allowance? The answer may lie in your unique LifeValues and how they influence your financial decision making. Take the LifeValues Quiz.

For help with setting goals and getting finances in order in 2015, visit www.smartaboutmoney.org.

Survey Methodology

Harris Poll conducted this study online on behalf of the National Endowment for Financial Education from November 15-24, 2014, among 2,098 adults in the top 10 U.S. markets by population; more specifically, 212 in the NYC Metro area, NY; 213 in Los Angeles, CA; 210 in Chicago, IL; 209 in Philadelphia, PA; 206 in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; 209 in San Francisco, CA; 211 in Boston, MA; 207 in Washington, D.C.; 211 in Atlanta, GA and 210 in Houston, TX. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Respondents for this survey were selected among panel members who have agreed to participate in surveys. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, click here.

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Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    pdg@nefe.org

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    pas@nefe.org