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Survey shows saving, investing adjustments for the holidays

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More than one-third of Americans will alter their saving and investing strategies in the last few months of the year to accommodate their holiday shopping, according to the annual Holiday Spending and Savings Study from financial service company Edward Jones.

While 35 percent of those surveyed revealed those plans, 39 percent said they are most preoccupied with paying off their debts during this time of year, the study showed.

"While Americans acknowledge the importance of sticking to financial goals, even those with the best intentions can get sidetracked this time of year," said Scott Thoma, retirement strategist and principal at Edward Jones. "To ensure people spend wisely during this time, we suggest they create a holiday shopping budget and stick to it. And to make up for the extra spending, we also suggest that people reconnect with their financial advisors or take a closer look at their own financial plans and make sure they're well positioned to remain on track after the holidays."

According to the study, women are more likely than men to make accommodations for increased year-end spending in their savings and investing strategies, with 40 percent doing so compared with 30 percent of their male counterparts. In addition, women are more likely than men to be most focused on holiday purchases (32 percent versus 26 percent, respectively).

"Women typically control household spending, so the response in our survey is in line with expectations," said Brian Yarbrough, senior retail analyst at Edward Jones. "As for spending levels, all signs point to a solid holiday shopping season. We also expect the online shopping trend to continue, with less spending conducted in brick-and-mortar stores."

Other findings include:

  • 18-to-24 year olds are nearly twice as likely as those 65 or older to adjust their savings and spending strategy during the holidays (43 percent compared with 24 percent).
  • Households with income levels between $50,000 and $75,000 are the least likely to adjust their plans, with only 26 percent indicating their plans to do so. The lowest earning households, those earning less than $35,000 per year, were most likely to adjust their plans, at 42 percent – but unexpectedly, the highest income earners were no less likely than the survey average to do so.
  • Respondents between 45 and 54 years of age are the most likely to focus on paying off debts as the year ends (46 percent), compared to all age groups.
  • Respondents with household income levels greater than $100,000 are more likely than all groups to focus on making final contributions to savings and retirement plans (22 percent compared with 13 percent for household incomes between $75,000 and $100,000, and 11 percent overall).

The survey was conducted by ORC International's CARAVAN Omnibus Services and was based on 1,007 landline and cell phone interviews of U.S. adults conducted October 2-5, 2014. The margin of error was +/-3%, according to Edward Jones.


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