The majority of Dallas-Fort Worth residents believe they will be saving more (62 percent), spending less (61 percent) and investing more (51 percent) in 2016, according to a new survey released today by Bank of America and Merrill Edge.

The latest Merrill Edge® Report reveals that these forward-looking financial behaviors may be in anticipation of a desired lifestyle upgrade during their retirement years. The national survey found the majority of respondents plan to improve their standard of living in retirement, versus using their budget only for the necessities. Dallas-Fort Worth area residents appear to share the same sentiments:
  • Today, more than half (52 percent) say they would not be willing to move in with friends or family during retirement to minimize expenses.
  • Approximately one-third (29 percent) of Dallas-Fort Worth respondents would not be willing to work part-time in retirement.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) are not willing to move to a cheaper area during their retirement years.

"The good news is we're seeing a majority of Dallas-Fort Worth residents optimistic about their financial plans heading into 2016, with a central focus on increasing savings and investments while decreasing overall spending," said Will Smayda, regional sales executive at Merrill Edge. "These behaviors demonstrate that the majority of residents are off to a great start toward their desired lifestyle upgrade in retirement."

The biannual survey of 1,000 Americans with investable assets of $50,000 to $250,000 found that despite an optimistic outlook for 2016 and their retirement years, many are still impacted by external economic pressures and justifiable debt today, potentially keeping them from achieving their financial goals.

Many (48 percent) respondents view the current economy as the factor most likely to impact their spending habits, compared to their saving or investment behaviors. And despite planning to spend less in the upcoming year, Dallas-Fort Worth residents still think some specific expenses are worth taking on debt:
  • The majority of Dallas-Fort Worth respondents have gone into debt for a home (54 percent compared to 46 nationally).
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of residents have gone into debt for a car.
  • More than one-quarter (27 percent) of Dallas-Fort Worth residents report they have gone into debt for home improvements or renovations.

In looking back on their splurges, most Dallas-Fort Worth residents still remain confident in the majority of their debt-inducing expenses. Out of the 54 percent of Dallas-Fort Worth locals who went into debt for a house, 94 percent affirm that it was worth going into debt, perhaps viewing their debt as a long-term investment. Additionally, of the 47 percent who went into debt for a car, 70 percent still believed it was "worth it."

For more in-depth information about the financial behaviors and priorities of mass affluent Americans, read the entire Merrill Edge Report Fall 2015 or take our poll here. A complementing infographic is available here.

Merrill Edge Survey MethodologyBraun Research, Inc. conducted a nationally representative telephone survey on behalf of Merrill Edge. The survey was conducted from September 8 through September 20, 2015, and consisted of 1,001 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S., defined as individuals with investable assets (value of all cash, savings, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, stock, bonds and all other types of investments excluding primary home and other real estate investments). Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 34 (millennials) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 34 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 35-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000. We conducted an oversampling of 300 mass affluents in the following markets: San Francisco; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Dallas; New Jersey; South Florida; Chicago; and Phoenix. The markets of Chicago and Phoenix were newly surveyed this wave. The margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent for the national sample and about +/- 5.7 percent for the oversample markets, all reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

Merrill EdgeMerrill Edge is a streamlined investment service that provides access to the investment insights of Merrill Lynch and the convenience of Bank of America banking. With Merrill Edge, clients can view their Merrill Edge investment and Bank of America bank accounts on one page online. They also have access to easy-to-use tools, actionable insights, one-on-one guidance and competitive pricing for online trades. If clients prefer to receive advice and guidance to pursue and track financial goals, Merrill Edge Roadmap® allows them to work one-on-one with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor to develop a personalized action plan and receive specific investment recommendations tailored to them and their personal goals.

Bank of AmericaBank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,700 retail financial centers, approximately 16,100 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with 32 million active users and more than 18 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Visit the Bank of America newsroom for more Bank of America news.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.

Merrill Edge ® is available through Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S), and consists of the Merrill Edge Advisory Center (investment guidance) and self-directed online investing.

MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.

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