Personal Finance

Consumers Discuss Financial Goals for 2021 in Latest Survey

By Neej Gore, President of the Data Cloud at marketing technology company, Zeta Global

Last year was a painful one for the American economy and its workers, which is why the majority of consumers are resolving to ‘save more money’ in 2021.

According to Zeta’s Financial Resolutions Report, 53% of consumers said ‘the importance of savings’ was the biggest lesson learned from 2020, followed by ‘controlling discretionary spending’ (28%) and ‘prioritizing paying off debt’ (19%).

Looking at the respondents by age, older Americans (those aged 45 and above) expressed greater interest in controlling discretionary spending compared to their younger counterparts who were more interested in increasing savings in general. 

So, how do consumers plan to save more? 

Of those who aspire to save more in 2021, 47% plan to accomplish their goal by ‘reducing discretionary spending’, while 33% will ‘switch jobs to earn more money’, 11% will ‘refinance existing liabilities’, and 8% will ‘reduce credit card debt.’

Interestingly, for those planning to start a new job, age is not a factor. In other words, those just starting out in their careers (e.g., 25 year-olds) are as likely to try and find a new job in 2021 as those who are far more established (e.g., a 59 year-old), suggesting job losses, salary reductions, and limited working hours impacted all career levels. This counters the pre-pandemic norm in which workers across age groups placed greater emphasis on culture and benefits than salary.

Income, however, appears to be a factor in pushing people to search for new jobs in 2021—the majority of those planning to start a new career make less than $50,000 per year.

Impact of Resolutions on Banking and Credit Card Choices 

Despite the pandemic and the increasing number of banking services that don’t require any in-person interaction, 28% of consumers still care about their proximity to a physical branch when selecting a bank. However, fees were the #1 thing respondents cared about, with 42% saying ‘lower fees’ are the most important factor to consider in choosing a bank. This result makes sense given Americans increased emphasis on saving money in 2021. 

Of the banking-related fees Americans are paying attention to, those associated with credit cards are a focal point. According to the survey, consumers are more concerned with a credit card’s interest rate or annual fee than they are with its “perks” (e.g., airline miles, cash back, etc.). 

With such renewed consumer focus on career advancement and fiscal responsibility among consumers right now, let’s hope 2021 can deliver the goods.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.