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Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President, Charles Schwab Foundation, And Senior Vice President, Schwab Community Services, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Photo: Business Wire)

This holiday season, Americans are wishing for a better employment picture for the United States, according to the latest quarterly pulse survey from Charles Schwab and Co., Inc. Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans wish to unwrap a lower unemployment rate for the country this holiday season, followed by a substantial decrease in the national debt (26 percent) and a better housing market (12 percent). Though a financial resolution in Europe remains unclear, only four percent of respondents want to unwrap a solution to the European debt crisis, showing that Americans’ focus is primarily on economic issues at home.

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President, Charles Schwab Foundation, and Senior Vice President, Schwab Com ...

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President, Charles Schwab Foundation, and Senior Vice President, Schwab Community Services, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Photo: Business Wire)

When it comes to a financial gift for themselves this holiday season, Americans appear torn between treating themselves now and saving for their future. Almost a quarter of Americans (22 percent) say their top wish is for money to pay for a vacation or buy something for themselves. However, almost as many (21 percent) wish to have more money for retirement. Retirement savings is especially important among households with an income of more than $100,000, with 39 percent saying additional money to put toward retirement is the gift they most want to open this season.

According to Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. senior vice president, CFP®, saving for retirement and enjoying some flexible spending now aren’t mutually exclusive. “It’s really about finding the right balance of spending and saving that fits your unique budget and situation,” says Pomerantz. “A smart way to approach holiday spending is to crunch the numbers and avoid creating significant debt. Keep holiday spending in check relative to your long-term retirement savings goals, which should be at least around 10 percent of your annual income.”

Additional findings include:

  • When looking back on the past year, 36 percent of those surveyed say their employment status or that of a family member had the greatest impact on their financial decision making, and 50 percent of those ages 18 to 34 feel that way. One in five (20 percent) Americans say that the presidential election had the greatest effect on their financial decisions. Another 12 percent of people say the real estate and housing market had the greatest influence on their financial decisions in 2012.
  • According to the survey, the most uncomfortable topic for Americans to discuss with their family members this season at the holiday dinner table would be the cost of healthcare expenses for aging family members (28 percent), followed by the amount of money spent on holiday gifts (14 percent) and saving or paying for college (13 percent).

Investors can visit for resources and tips on budgeting and setting financial goals throughout the holiday season and beyond. For one-on-one financial help and guidance, visit, call 800-435-4000 any time 24/7, or visit a Schwab branch.

About the Survey

The Charles Schwab Retirement Survey was conducted by Koski Research between October 31 and November 5, 2012, using Random Digit Dialing of listed and unlisted numbers, with 20 percent of the sample reached by cellular/mobile phones. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. The study’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

About Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 300 offices and 8.7 million active brokerage accounts, 1.6 million corporate retirement plan participants, 851,000 banking accounts, and $1.9 trillion in client assets as of October 31, 2012. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; compliance and trade monitoring solutions; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through its  Advisor Services division. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides trust and custody services, and banking and lending services and products. More information is available at and Investment products offered by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or obligations of Charles Schwab Bank. (1212-7928)

Follow us on Twitter: @charlesschwab

Read our blog: Schwab Talk

© 2012 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.

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