Forty-six percent of Americans surveyed by Fidelity Investments cite saving more as their No. 1 financial resolution for 2012, and among this group, the median savings target is $2,400, up from $1,200 last year.
Americans’ second financial resolution for the New Year is spending less, cited by 21%, followed by paying off debt (19%). This is up considerably from last year, when paying off debt was the seventh most popular resolution.
“The results of this survey indicate that many Americans are continuing to put their financial houses back in order, with some very positive financial strategies,” said Ken Hevert, vice president at Fidelity. “In these uncertain economic times, Fidelity can help investors focus on financial aspects of their lives that they can control, like creating long- and short-term savings plans, building an emergency fund and developing a budget to determine areas where spending can be reduced.”
The survey also showed that 62% believe saving for long-term goals is critical. By comparison, 34% cite short-term goals.
For those in the long-term camp, 52% pointed to saving more in a 401(k) or an IRA, followed by 45% noting college savings, and 37% healthcare.
For those in the short-term camp, the No. 1 goal was saving for an emergency (65%), followed by a household repair or upgrade (45%) a vehicle (35%) or a luxury item (5%).
Eighty-five percent say they are going to continue to bulk up their savings, up from 80% last year.
Coloring these conservative plans is the fact that 84% of Americans think the economy is already or likely to suffer a double-dip recession, and 39% are not confident in their ability to make the right financial decisions in this economic environment.