April 13, 2024

Fitness/finance top list of 2024 resolutions

Mark M Grywacheski

Mark M. Grywacheski

Kevin Schmidt

For many Americans, the new year brings forth a new set of New Year’s resolutions. It’s a clean slate to accomplish those goals and ambitions we want to achieve. It’s a chance to make ourselves, or our current situation, just a little bit better than the year before.

According to a recent survey by Forbes Health, 80% of respondents say they feel confident they can achieve their resolution goals. Most (65%) will make two to three resolutions this year. 13.6% will choose the highly ambitious route and have four resolutions while just 2.5% will choose the path of least resistance and select just one resolution to toil over. Though determined in their intentions, respondents readily admit they are realistic in their outcome. In fact, 44% say their resolutions will last just two to three months.

48% of those surveyed said improved fitness was their No. 1 priority, making it the top resolution for 2024. This is likely fueled by the voluminous amount of calories typically consumed over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, new gym memberships are 50.6% higher in January compared to any of the other 11 months.

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The second most popular New Year’s resolution for 2024 is improved finances. In the Forbes Health survey, 38% thought improving their personal and household finances would be their top priority.

In their Annual Financial Resolutions Survey, Fidelity Investments provided some insight on how Americans expect to improve their finances this year. Though 35% of respondents state they are in a worse financial situation than this time last year, there is a sense of optimism. Two-thirds believe their financial situation will improve in 2024.

According to Fidelity’s survey, the No. 1 (41%) financial resolution is to save more money. Eight in 10 Americans plan to build up their emergency savings. The general rule is that you should have enough money in your emergency fund to cover three to six months’ worth of expenses. The U.S. Federal Reserve reports that the personal savings rate – the percent of consumers’ disposable income that they save – is currently at 4.1%. This is well below the February 2020 pre-pandemic rate of 7.7%.

The No. 2 (38%) financial resolution is to pay down debt. At the end of the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total household debt was at a record-high $17.29 trillion. This is up 4.8% over the past 12 months. Household credit card debt is also at a record-high $1.08 trillion, up 16.6% over the past 12 months. Over the past two-and-a-half years, household credit card debt has risen by 40.1%. Finally, the No. 3 (30%) financial resolution is to spend less money.

Of all the financial concerns expressed by respondents, the impact of inflation is listed as their top anxiety. One-third expect to have significantly less money caused by the higher cost-of-living from rising prices. Yes, inflation has fallen from its June 2022 peak of 8.9%. But at 3.1%, it still remains above the Federal Reserve’s target rate of just 2%. This also means that consumer prices, on average, have risen another 3.1% over the past 12 months.

Since inflation started to rise in March 2021, consumer prices have risen a cumulative 16.8%. This means that for every $100 of goods and services you bought back in March 2021, those same items will now cost you $116.80. Because of rising prices, the average American household is now spending about $10,000 per year more for the same goods and services they bought three years ago.

But whatever your New Year’s resolutions might be, whether to shore up your finances, lose a few pounds or to conquer that life-long ambition you’ve always had, I wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2024.

Mark Grywacheski is an expert in financial markets and economic analysis and is an investment adviser with Quad-Cities Investment Group, Davenport.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Any prices or quotations contained herein are indicative only and do not constitute an offer to buy or sell any securities at any given price. Information has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the material presented is accurate or that it provides a complete description of the securities, markets or developments mentioned. Quad-Cities Investment Group LLC is a registered investment adviser with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.

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