Market Activity in 2018 Impacts Americans’ Approach to Holiday Spending, Edward Jones Finds

Data reveals Americans prioritize financial security over short-term holiday spending

St. Louis, MO – More than four in 10 Americans (42 percent) say external factors including tax cuts, rising interest rates, recent tariffs and market volatility will play a role in how they adjust their holiday shopping budgets this season, according to a recent survey by financial services firm Edward Jones. While they won’t be shy with their wallets – six out of 10  (64 percent) Americans anticipate spending more or similar amounts to last year -- respondents are being more thoughtful with their budgets following a year with increased market volatility.

"There were a number of market events in 2018 that prompted investors to potentially reassess their finances," said Scott Thoma, principal and retirement strategist at Edward Jones. "While recent volatility may not have a lasting impact on investors’ portfolios, it’s encouraging to see they are taking a step back and ensuring they remain on track for their financial goals, and potentially updating their holiday spending budgets accordingly."

Paying down debt takes priority

Americans aren’t letting the holiday euphoria sway their long-term goals, as they reported paying down existing debt (38 percent) as a higher priority than saving or paying for holiday purchases (30 percent). With 68 percent of Americans planning to use their checking accounts for holiday gift shopping this year, and 46 percent saying they’ll utilize coupons and deals, this could signal that Americans won’t sacrifice going into debt in search for that perfect gift.

Investors favor financial planning

When asked how they’d rather spend one hour of their time, more than half of Americans (56 percent) said they’d prefer to review their financial strategy with a financial professional versus spend the hour in the checkout line waiting to purchase a holiday gift. Furthermore, 48 percent of respondents indicated they would rather receive a $1,000 investment portfolio of stocks and bonds than $1,000 worth of material items such as new clothes, video games and entertainment systems.

"Considering the amount of time and money Americans spend on shopping activities during the holiday season, it’s encouraging to see that they would rather spend their time meeting with their financial advisors," added Thoma. "Even during the holidays when gift giving feels like the most important priority, investors see greater value in receiving financial advice than in waiting in line, although we have some work to be done to show the long-term value of investing as a gift that can provide you benefits way into the future.

Methodology

This survey was conducted by Engine’s Online CARAVAN® Omnibus on behalf of Edward Jones. The survey was conducted nationally among a sample of 2,006 adults comprising 1,002 men and 1,004 women 18 years of age and older from November 15-21, 2018.

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