Nearly all American millennials (94%) plan on making financial resolutions in 2019, according to new data from Principal Financial Group®. As the year winds down, more Americans are reflecting on where they busted their budgets in 2018, and importantly, what they’re committed to correcting in 2019.
Food broke the bank for Americans in 2018, taking the top two spots on the list of budget-busters. Dining out (29%) and food/groceries (27%) led the way, while clothing/apparel (21%), entertainment (17%) and vehicle expenses (17%) also made discernible dents.
At the same time, Americans cite their biggest financial blunder as not saving enough (22%) in 2018, followed by not budgeting properly (11%). Other top blunders include the following:
Taking on more debt (10%).
Spending outside their means (9%).
Accumulating credit card debt (9%).
“There’s no one-size-fits all magic bullet for spending versus saving. However, the more we can think about spending and saving instead of spending or saving, the better off people will be,” said Jerry Patterson, senior vice president of retirement and income solutions at Principal®. “Taking a hard look at where we missed the mark and committing to making the right changes is a key step for 2019 well-being.”
In spite of these blunders, optimism comes from a fresh start in financial New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions in 2019 overall include:
To save more each month (46%).
Reduce spending each month (38%).
Pay off credit card debt (29%).
Build an emergency fund (24%).
Save more for retirement (21%).
“The new year is a chance for new opportunities and a clean slate. The challenge will be taking those good intentions and making them last into February and beyond,” added Mr. Patterson.
More than one half of those surveyed (56%) are optimistic about the economy in 2019. The new year, however, isn’t without worry. The top concern is health care instability (40%), with about one half (49%) of Baby Boomers having the highest level of uneasiness. Other burdens include fluctuating gas (37%) and food prices (36%), political uncertainty (28%) and wages (23%).
“While Americans are feeling optimistic, they remain cautious about things that seem out of their control,” said Mr. Patterson. “The fact is we’ll never be able to control all the variables in our lives, but we can do smart, simple things to set ourselves up for success and help us better weather any possible storms.”