When it comes to spending or saving, most Americans are leaning toward spending. That’s the finding of new research, which found that two-thirds of Americans have no savings goals for 2012 and one-quarter of respondents plan to save no money in the current year. Additionally, just one-third of Americans are saving what they feel they need to, while 51 percent admit to not saving as much as they should.
Those numbers come despite the fact that 76 percent of respondents listed saving money as extremely important to them. Despite the bleak outlook for savings, Americans remain optimistic about their financial futures. According to the survey, 65 percent of people believe that their own financial situation will improve in the next year. Almost 60 percent of people feel that local businesses will also improve over the next year.
"It is good news that Americans recognize the importance of simplifying their financial lives and saving in order to be financially secure, but the counter to that is many do not have savings goals or don’t plan to save anything in 2012," Michelle Peluso, chief global consumer marketing and Internet officer at Citi, said. "When it comes to overall consumer optimism, there was an across-the-board rise in the first quarter of 2012, and the big question there is whether that increase marks the beginning of an upward shift in confidence or reflects a temporary uptick as it did last year."
Americans feel that simplifying their finances is the key to fixing their economic outlook. A majority of Americans said that simplifying their financial lives is the most important step in their effort to save. Most people plan on simplifying their expenses by limiting debt, controlling spending, having a clear financial goal and being able to manage their money at all times. The respondents said the biggest hurdle to financial success is the price of gas. Seven in ten people said that gas prices made the biggest impact on their households, beating out other expenses such as interest rates, the employment rate and home prices.
"The long decline in home prices, coupled with the weakness in the job market, has probably had a far bigger impact on most Americans' sense of financial well-being than the recent spike in gas prices," Jonathan Clements, director of financial education for Citi personal wealth management, said. "But maybe we've grown used to the weak housing and job market, whereas higher gas prices are not only in the news, but also they hit us in the wallet every time we fill up the tank."
These findings were based on the responses of 2,001 adults. The survey was conducted by Hart Research Associates for Citi.
Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.