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Americans seek to save more, reduce debt

Fifty-seven percent of Americans plan to reduce their debt in 2012, and 50% expect to save more, according to the New York Life Kitchen Table Pulse, a new survey of over 1,000 adults aged 30 and older conducted by Ipsos North America, New York.

Despite taking these important steps toward more personal financial responsibility, the survey revealed Americans’ continued concerns around their financial future. In the year ahead, only 30% agree that their family will be more financially secure and better prepared for the unexpected, and just 24% believe they will be in better financial shape for retirement.

“The continued economic unsteadiness has hit American families hard, and the survey results echo the concern that our 12,250 agents hear across kitchen tables around the country,” said Mark Pfaff, executive vice president, New York Life. “With the realization that they cannot rely on traditional financial safety nets any longer, people are asking: ‘How do we protect ourselves, take care of our children now and in the future and even prepare for our own retirement needs?’ We know these kitchen table conversations with agents can help families be better prepared and perhaps feel more positive about their financial futures. We hope that many more Americans seek financial guidance in 2012 and take some of their worry off the table.”

You can read here about the role a New York Life agent can play in providing financial guidance.

Other interesting findings from the survey include:

  • Those most likely to say that they will reduce their debt in 2012 include those aged 45-59 (65%), men (61%), married adults (61%), and full-time workers (60%).
  • Adults ages 30-59 are more likely to intend to save more next year than are those who are older (55% vs. 37%).
  • What can make the difference in 2012

    “In 2012, saving more and spending less is the order of the day, but this is not giving Americans a better feeling about their financial situations and certainly not preparing them for the unexpected,” noted Pfaff. “Those who are doing the right thing for their families and their finances want to have some peace of mind. That’s why our agents reach out to families and businesses in their communities and offer professional assistance that results in just that,” said Pfaff.

    Studies have shown that people who engage with a professional financial representative feel better about their financial strategies and future. According to the survey, however, only 14% of Americans report they plan to seek professional help managing their finances in 2012.

    “Looking more closely at responses to this question, it is encouraging to see that those most likely to say that they will seek the help of a financial professional include parents, college graduates and those ages 30–44. But it is important for more Americans to think about engaging a professional. While many believe they can go this alone, or hide their heads in the sand, the continued economic uncertainties that persist today would be better managed with professional assistance,” added.Pfaff.

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    Survey methodology

    These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted November 10-14, 2011. For the survey, a national sample of 1,011 adults aged 30 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 1,011 and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire adult population of adults aged 30 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.