It’s that time of year — time to figure out what you’re going to resolve to do better next year. In years past, Americans’ top 10 New Year’s resolutions typically have been commitments to improve physical, mental and financial well-being.
To find out how people plan to better themselves in 2018, GOBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 adults across the U.S. We asked, “What is your 2018 resolution?” Respondents had six options and could choose more than one:
– Save more, spend less – Pay down debt – Enjoy life to the fullest – Live a healthier lifestyle – Increase my income – Spend more time with friends and family
Our findings show that financial resolutions aren’t the most popular vows for 2018. Keep reading to discover the top New Year’s resolutions for next year.
Most Popular 2018 New Year’s Resolution: ‘Enjoy Life to the Fullest’
When given the choice between making smart money moves or having fun, a larger percentage of people chose the latter. Our survey found that the most popular resolution for 2018 is “enjoy life to the fullest,” with nearly 32 percent of respondents opting for this choice.
The second-most popular resolution for 2018 is “live a healthier lifestyle,” followed by “pay down debt.”
Enjoying life to the fullest also was the most popular resolution for 2016. However, 45.7 percent of respondents in that GOBankingRates’ survey that year were making it a priority.
The top New Year’s resolution for 2017 was “save more, spend less.” In that survey, though, respondents weren’t given “enjoy life to the fullest” as an answer option.
For 2018, the resolution to “save more, spend less” is the fourth-most popular. This is somewhat surprising, considering another GOBankingRates survey found that “never being able to retire” and “always living paycheck to paycheck” are the top money fears in the U.S.
Although it’s the most popular resolution in the U.S., “enjoy life to the fullest” isn’t the top priority in every state. For example, Alaskans are more likely to vow to enjoy life, with 52.4 percent of respondents in the state choosing this resolution. But other resolutions are more popular in some states. For example:
– “Live a healthier lifestyle” is the most popular resolution in Alabama, Louisiana, Montana, Texas and a few others. – “Spend more time with family and friends” is the top 2018 resolution in Delaware. – “Save more, spend less” is tied with enjoying life as the most popular resolution in Hawaii and Vermont.
Although another GOBankingRates survey found that debt is the No. 1 cause of financial stress in most states, “pay down debt” is the top resolution in only two places — the District of Columbia and Oklahoma. Nearly 43 percent of respondents in the nation’s capital chose this option, joined by nearly 28 percent in Oklahoma.
Women More Likely to Vow to Live Healthier
“Enjoy life to the fullest” is the most popular resolution for both men and women — with 31.1 percent and 33 percent, respectively, choosing this option. However, a greater percentage of women than men want to live a healthier lifestyle in 2018 — approximately 32 percent versus 27 percent.
Women also are slightly more likely to want to focus on paying down debt, while a slightly higher percentage of men than women are resolving to increase their income.
Both men and women would be smart to make saving more one of their top New Year’s resolutions. That’s because 33 percent of men and 36 percent of women have $0 saved for retirement, found GOBankingRates’ 2017 Retirement Savings survey. They also should be vowing to spend less, considering that another survey found that 49 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
Men, in particular, should be resolving to pay down debt in 2018. That’s because men are deeper in debt than women. GOBankingRates found that, on average, men owe $95,057 and women owe $31,037.
Americans’ Finances in 2017: Here’s How Much Debt Americans Have in 2017
Millennials More Likely to Make Finances a Priority
In line with the overall results, “enjoy life to the fullest” is the most popular resolution among all but one age group: ages 25 to 34. However, financial resolutions are more popular among millennials than other generations, the survey found.
Millennials ages 25 to 34 are more likely than any other age group to choose “save more, spend less” as their 2018 resolution, followed by young millennials ages 18 to 24. Millennials ages 25 to 34 are more likely than any other age group to choose “pay down debt” as their 2018 resolution. And millennials ages 25 to 34 are also more likely than other generations to choose “increase my income,” followed by adults ages 18 to 24.
Older adults, on the other hand, were the least likely age group to choose financial resolutions. Instead, adults ages 65 and older are more likely than any other age group to choose the following resolutions:
1. Enjoy life to the fullest — 42 percent 2. Live a healthier lifestyle — 33 percent 3. Spend more time with friends and family — 23 percent
It probably comes as no surprise that, later in life, adults want to focus on enjoying life and taking steps to prolong their lives.
Methodology: This survey was conducted as a Google Consumer Survey and collected responses from 5,055 people. The findings are representative of the U.S. online population with a margin of error of 3.4 percent. The survey posed the question, “What is your 2018 financial resolution? Respondents could choose more than one of the following answers: 1) save more, spend less; 2) pay down debt; 3) enjoy life to the fullest; 4) live a healthier lifestyle; 5) increase my income; 6) spend more time with friends and family; 7) none; and 8) other. For the analysis of resolutions, respondents who selected “none” or “other” were excluded. Insights were found using only respondents who selected at least one of the six resolution choices.