SOURCE: BMO Harris Financial Advisors

December 19, 2013 09:00 ET

BMO Harris Financial Advisors Study: Financial Goals Will Account for More Than One-Quarter of New Year's Resolutions

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Dec 19, 2013) -

  • Sixty-five percent of those surveyed in Illinois will be making a 2014 New Year's resolution
  • More than 40 percent of those resolutions will involve health and fitness, followed by financial resolutions at 26 percent
  • Forty-five percent of Illinois residents surveyed have a financial plan

According to a study issued today by BMO Harris Financial Advisors, sixty-five percent of those surveyed in Illinois will be making at least one New Year's resolution for 2014. While health-related resolutions will top the list, financial resolutions, such as paying down debt and saving more money, are the second most popular set of commitments that will be made before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

When asked what types of New Year's resolutions they will be making for next year, Illinois residents identified the following:

  • Health and fitness (join a gym, quit smoking, etc.) - 41 percent
  • Financial (pay down debt, save more money, etc.) - 26 percent
  • Personal (learn a new skill, read more, etc.) - 25 percent
  • Love life (start dating, get married, etc.) - 16 percent
  • Career (work more/less, get a promotion, etc.) - 14 percent

"The start of a new year marks a great time to focus on an important goal, from getting more physical exercise to addressing your personal financial issues," said Michael Miroballi, President & COO, BMO Harris Financial Advisors. "If you want to put yourself in a better position to achieve any financial resolutions you make, a critical first step is to make sure you have a financial plan."

A financial plan helps people work towards their short and long-term goals, like the purchase of a new home, saving for a child's education or investing for retirement. It provides a roadmap that outlines the path from where they are today to where they want to be in the future. At BMO Harris Financial Advisors, the process begins with a financial advisor reviewing a person's finances -- including assets, liabilities, income, spending habits and investments -- then building a personalized plan that takes these items and risk tolerance into account and fits with the rest of his/her life.

Illinois and Financial Plans

The study found that 45 percent of respondents from Illinois have a financial plan. Of those who indicated they had a plan:

  • While eighty three percent review their plan multiple times a year, only 23 percent review their plan every month.
  • Eighty-five percent reported that their financial plan has helped them achieve their goals in the past.
  • Only 9 percent believe their financial plan has not been helpful.

Of those in the state who do not currently have a financial plan, the most commonly cited reasons include:

  • Do not have enough money to justify having a financial plan (45 percent)
  • Never thought of doing a financial plan (36 percent)
  • Do not know where to start (31 percent)
  • Not really sure what a financial plan is or what goes into one (27 percent)

Key National Findings:

  • Sixty-eight percent of those Americans surveyed will be making a New Year's resolution for 2014.
  • Setting goals related to personal finances will account for 28 per cent of all resolutions made; other areas include health and finances (39 percent), personal goals (27 percent), love life (16 percent) and career (16 percent).
  • Fifty-three percent who have made financial New Year's resolutions in the past have kept them -- with women being better than men at seeing them through (57 vs. 46 percent).
  • Forty percent of those Americans surveyed have a financial plan.
  • Eight-five percent of those with a financial plan feel that it has helped them achieve their goals.
  • The top reason identified for not having a financial plan is "do not have enough money to justify having one" (39 percent).

About BMO Harris Financial Advisors
BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc., offers a comprehensive range of investment advisory products that include financial planning strategies and estate planning strategies to meet the financial needs of high-net-worth clients. Offices are located throughout the U.S. Learn more at www.bmoharris.com/financialadvisors.

BMO Harris Financial Advisors(SM)is a trade name of BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. Securities, investment advisory services and insurance products are offered through BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. SEC-registered investment adviser. BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. and BMO Harris Bank N.A. are affiliated companies. Securities and insurance products offered are: NOT A DEPOSIT - NOT INSURED BY THE FDIC OR ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY - NOT GUARANTEED BY ANY BANK - MAY LOSE VALUE.

Estate planning requires legal assistance which BMO Harris Bank and its affiliates do not provide. Please consult with your legal advisor.

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 1,001 Americans 18 years of age and over (including 101 Illinois residents), between November 20th and November 26th, 2013. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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