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Keeping Finances at Arm’s-Length? You’re Not Alone

Despite wanting to save more, Marcus by Goldman Sachs found that Americans are missing an opportunity.

Wanting to earn more money may not be a surprising request, but results from a Marcus by Goldman Sachs study of 1,002 Americans in February and March shows that if there’s a gap between wanting to earn more and actually earning more, it may not simply be about what’s available. It could include what opportunities are being overlooked.

Using a savings account’s annual percentage yield as a starting point – which refers to the amount of interest a person could earn over a year, assuming no funds were withdrawn from the savings accounts – the survey showed that even though 67 percent of participants wish they were earning more interest on their savings and 68 percent said they wish they were saving more money that desire didn’t necessarily translate into action: 45 percent said they did not research the Annual Percentage Yield on their savings account before opening.

And after opening a savings account? Their interest in tracking interest was even less, with 47 percent saying they were unsure of or didn’t know the APY of their current savings account.

APY watching hints at a bigger financial issue

Watching interest rates (or in this case not watching interest rates) is just one component of the larger relationship Americans have with their finances based on additional survey responses. Although Americans are aware of the need for long-term financial plans – for example, 50 percent said they wish they were doing more to prepare for their retirement – answers showed that obstacles to addressing needs like this include a mix of immediate financial concerns and perceptions about what it takes to start saving.

"35 percent of the overall survey group said they are too worried about their finances today to think about planning for the future."

For example, 46 percent who said they put off dealing with their expenses attributed it to not having enough money to make it worth their time and 35 percent of the overall survey group said they are too worried about their finances today to think about planning for the future.

Ranking as a less-than-enjoyable subject probably doesn’t do much to promote financial management as a desirable chore. In fact, the list of things Americans would rather do than deal with their finances included the following:

  • 51 percent said they’d rather wash dishes
  • 39 percent said they’d rather go to the gym
  • 36 percent would rather go to the doctor (this tied with lawn mowing)
  • 33 percent would rather change a diaper
  • 31 percent would rather give up dessert
  • 26 percent would rather go to the dentist

How Americans think about finances – emotionally and timewise

Results also underscored the emotional connections people have with money:  54 percent would like to become better at managing their money while 54 percent also said that how they manage their money affects how they feel about themselves.

It goes to show there’s clearly a lot at play when looking at an individual’s financial picture and beginning to create a strategy or implement one.

Americans are looking for financial partners

There also appears to be an openness about seeking advice for how to move ahead: 32 percent said they would like a partner to help them manage their money, and although 27 percent said they don’t think their bank helps them get smarter about managing their finances, there is trust that banks could be a resource – 49 percent said they believe that their bank has their best interest in mind.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.