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.
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).
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV