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TMCNet:  Fiscal Cliff and Unemployment Top List of 2012 Economic Concerns

[December 12, 2012]

Fiscal Cliff and Unemployment Top List of 2012 Economic Concerns

MINNEAPOLIS --(Business Wire)--

While Americans are clamoring for the U.S. Government to get its financial house in order - avoiding the looming fiscal cliff and fixing high unemployment - on a personal level, they admit to being guilty of their own bad financial habits. According to the 2012 Bad Financial Habits Survey* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life), 44 percent of Americans surveyed said that "unemployment" was their top economic concern of 2012, followed by 31 percent who indicated the "impending fiscal cliff." However, when asked about their worst financial habits, nearly a third of respondents (30 percent) said "not saving any money" and 18 percent said "spending more than I make" - the same type of financial miscues that have put the government's finances in jeopardy.

"Americans want Uncle Sam to address the economic issues that are affecting the country's finances, yet it's troubling that they're guilty of many of the same poor spending and savings habits themselves," said Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life. "It's our hope that discussion about these topics will prompt more Americans to take action to secure their own financial future."

Unemployment and Fiscal Cliff Concerns
Although unemployment was identified as the most worrisome economic event of 2012, it was actually down four percentage points from 2011 when nearl half of the respondents (48 percent) said it was their top concern. The 31 percent of people that said they were most worried about the impending fiscal cliff were eight percentage points higher than those who chose "U.S. Budget fiasco" as their biggest worry from last year. Other economic events that respondents identified as "most worrisome" included:

  • Home prices/sales - 11 percent, down from 15 percent in 2011
  • Volatile stock market - 9 percent, down from 10 percent in 2011
  • European debt crisis - 4 percent, down from 5 percent in 2011

Bad Financial Habits
What were Americans' worst financial habits of 2012 As noted above, 30 percent of Americans surveyed said they are guilty of "not saving any money," but the same percentage indicated they "spend too much money on things I don't need." This was followed by those who admit they:

  • Save some money, but not as much as I could - 24 percent
  • Don't have a household budget - 18 percent
  • Spend more than I make - 18 percent
  • Don't educate myself about financial planning - 15 percent
  • Pay bills late - 12 percent
  • Only make the minimum payment on credit cards - 10 percent
  • Play the lottery/gamble - 9 percent
  • Don't seek professional help with my finances - 9 percent
  • Don't contribute to my employer-sponsored retirement plan - 5 percent

Few respondents (3 percent) reported that their worst financial habit was "contributing to my employer-sponsored retirement plan, but not taking full advantage of my employer match." Twenty-four percent of respondents said they are not guilty of any of the bad habits presented to them.

About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2012, has been keeping its promises since 1896. Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and life insurance products. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with 142,000 employees worldwide. More than 78 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most of financial opportunities.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America offers insurance and annuities in all states except New York. In New York, products are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York.

*Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America conducted the 2012 Bad Financial Habits Survey, an eNation online survey, through Ipsos in November 2012 with 1,000 panel respondents.

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