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This Valentine’s Day, money, not love is in the air

Berlin, Germany - January 11:  In this photo illustration Dollar bills are counted on January 11, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
(Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Shoring up personal finances tops the list of New Year resolutions for roughly one-third of Americans, according to a new report from MassMutual. A poll of 1,000 Americans found that when it comes to resolutions for this year, finances overshadow other resolutions like romance and career.

Health tops all resolutions, with 31% of all respondents making it their top priority, with finances coming in at a close second at 28%. Only 9% of those surveyed pointed to romance as their main focus in 2019, and a mere 6% say their career comes first.

It’s a good sign, says Tara Reynolds, MassMutual’s head of marketing and business development.

“We find it very encouraging that more people are focused on getting their personal finances in better shape this year. It is always better to be looking to prepare rather than repair one’s finances, and our research shows that is the focus for many in 2019,” she says.

Respondents had a big list of financial resolutions, including sticking to a budget, saving for a vacation, and retiring.

Among financial resolutions, debt was a top concern, with 41% wanting to pay off credit card or major debt (like a mortgage or student loan). Saving was the next priority, with 35% of those surveyed wanting to put money in a savings account. More savers were younger; those aged 18-19 wanted to save at a rate double those over the age of 60, and over 45% of people aged 20-29 also had the same goal.

But even though over a third only plan on contributing $100 or less to those financial goals, Reynolds says that no amount is too small.

“Saving any amount is a great step in working towards your financial goals as many of us are burdened with debt, including student, credit card, auto and other loans,” she says.

So what was the driving motivation for these financial resolutions? The most popular answer involved looking to the future: nearly half — 44% — have long-term goals and concerns.

Reynolds says that more people might be interested in their finances this year after indicating on the survey that they “didn’t save enough,” or “spent too much” last year.

“As women continue to become a larger portion of the workforce and are more focused on their careers, they are now much more focused than previous generations on their financial circumstances,” she says.

Despite looking to the future, only 16% of those surveyed were interested in buying a home. In fact, saving for a home was outstripped by saving for a vacation — for all age groups.

“Saving for vacation scored as a top five priority, which is certainly surprising,” Reynolds says.

“It’s equally surprising to see that saving for a home scored eighth in terms of priorities – showing that the American dream of owning a home is no longer a top priority among Americans.”

Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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