Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 4.
There's a good chance that your bad spending habits in 2016 are behind your New Year's resolutions for 2017.
Behind just about every bad decision is a bad financial decision, and 2016 was full of them. The folks at Principal Financial Group point out that 25% of workers they questioned for a recent survey said that "dining out" was where they blew most of their 2016 budget this year, up from 22% in 2014. Just behind it was "food and groceries" at 20% (up from 18% two years ago). As a result, 53% of those workers say they were planning on exercising regularly to manage their weight in the new year, up from 44% two years ago. Roughly 46% plan to control their portion sizes (the same as in 2014), while 48% plan to eat healthy (up from 46%) and 21% plan to weigh in daily (up from 18%).
"If setting goals is the first step, then taking action is the next," says Luke Vandermillen, vice president at Principal Financial Group, "We know that a lot of well-intentioned New Year's resolutions can quickly fall off the wagon."
According to Marist Poll, roughly 39% of Americans made New Year's resolutions last year, down from a peak of 48% in 2009. "Lose weight" was the top resolution in 2016, with 12% of those who made resolutions citing it as their primary concern. However, if you factor in related resolutions including "exercise more" (9%), "improve health" (9%) and "eat healthier" (8%), and it accounts for almost 40% of all New Year's resolutions. Considering that the National Retail Association says that food was expected to account for $207 of the $936 spent per person this holiday season, there's some serious cost associated with that resolution before you ever sign up for a gym membership.