What's Your Savings Resolution for 2013?
When asked what they will most actively be saving for in the coming year, the No. 1 response was an emergency fund. Home improvements or new furnishings came second, followed by children's or grandchildren's education.
Joseph Clark, a managing partner at Financial Enhancement Group, says the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy may make people think about the unexpected. The effects of a fiscal-cliff deal -- higher taxes among them -- could stifle spending.
"You don't borrow for an emergency fund," Clark says. "You have to save."
Clark says he started seeing a shift in how people manage their finances in the first quarter of 2009. The financial crisis and the housing downturn have taught many Americans the harsh lessons of living in a society of immediate gratification -- where people merely borrowed and then attempted to pay down debt.
"Having endured the worst financial crisis in memory, people are inclined to change their behaviors to offset the odds that they will have to face that hardship again," says Harrison Lazarus, a financial consultant and founder of Harrison Lazarus Advisors.
Will people save less in 2013 if they suddenly have more money? Apparently not.
When TheStreet asked what they would do if they won $1 million in the lottery tomorrow, more than 60% of respondents said they would save three-quarters or more of their winnings.
Eve Kaplan, a financial adviser with Kaplan Financial Advisors in Central New Jersey, argues there is some disconnect between how people respond -- what they think they should be doing or how they want to appear -- and what they actually do.