Americans Plan to Manage Money, Health in 2011

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Americans are hoping for wealth and wellness in 2011, according to Allianz Life Insurance.

The company’s annual New Year's Resolution survey found that 39% of participants plan on keeping their resolutions to better manage their money in the new year, while 40% will try to manage their waistlines.

In contrast, 30% of respondents said they wanted to spend more time with their family and friends next year, while only 13% would volunteer. In contrast, 25% of respondents had no intention of keeping any of these New Year’s resolutions.  

This week, the Voices of MainStreet shared their New Year’s resolutions, which included nearly all of those researched by Allianz.  Lisa Rae Rosenberg, who blogs about her funny family at Smacksy.com, plans to increase her financial well-being in 2011 using an online bank she recently set up that accounts and tracks different expenses such as medical, travel and emergencies.

“It’s like the old-school envelope system except the envelopes are floating around somewhere in cyberspace,” Rosenberg wrote. Read the other Voices’ resolutions on Mainstreet.

Allianz Life insurance’s survey was conducted by Synovate Research, which interviewed 1,000 people online in November. This is the second year the survey was held. 

Interestingly, the recent responses mirrored last year's results, which saw the same percentage of people feeling most confident in their ability to have success with their exercise, diet and personal finances. The desire to volunteer and spend extra time with family and friends dipped slightly.

Of course, good intentions don’t always lead to the best laid plans. While a higher percentage of respondents indicated that they were more likely to hire a financial planner than a personal trainer, only 33% said they would actually sit down and make a financial roadmap in 2011. This reluctance often pertains to not making enough money to warrant the task (34%), or finding the plans are either too complex (6%) or scary (4%).

The results seem in line with other surveys, which found that while Americans want to make, save and better manage their money, they aren’t taking steps to do so.  A survey released by Javelin Research found that more consumers currently do not monitor or manage their personal finances at all.

Additionally, countless studies have indicated that Americans aren’t using financial planners to jumpstart retirement savings, despite the fact that their golden years are woefully under-funded.

"People who don't believe they make enough money to plan for their financial futures are potentially jeopardizing their financial safety and security," Katie Libbe, who leads Consumer Insights at Allianz Life, said in a press release."Regardless of income level, sound financial planning helps ensure that individuals are prepared for life's events and challenges – and can reduce the uncertainty that surrounds retirement."

Overall Allianz’ survey found that more Americans are feeling optimistic as January approaches. Forty percent of respondents said they felt “positive” about their financial outlook for 2011, up two percentage points from 2009. However 37% admitted they are still feeling uncertain about what the new year will bring.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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