Michael on January 15th, 2010
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Turns out Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck readers do like polls.

You: Was that an actual survey question?


You: Then how do you know?

Based on the quantity of votes cast, some issues definitely get people energized to respond.  Here are some of the interesting results from the recent polls.

  • While only 10% of you use cash for most of your daily spending, 67% of you use debit cards. Since I’ve always considered debit cards the second-best choice behind cash, that’s promising. Only 23% of you use credit cards for your daily spending, a percentage I’m confident is much lower than the population at large.
  • By a 57% to 38% margin, you make financial New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never made new year’s resolutions because I don’t see the point in using a calendar to drive a new behavior. Nonetheless, as long as you can improve your financial habits, who cares what technique you use?
  • More than half of you indicated that the majority of your retirement plan money is in your workplace retirement account. I was glad to see an even split between those who have more money in their Roth IRA vs. in their traditional IRA.  Some of you are taking advantage of tax-free growth at an early age.  Most surprising: Nearly 10% of you indicated that your retirement savings is either in “other” or in a taxable account.   Most disappointing: 8% of you haven’t started saving for retirement yet.  Most promising: you’re way ahead of the nation at large and 8% of you will be starting soon, right?
  • Nearly 2/3 (64%) of readers responded that they had three months or less saved in an emergency fund. Are you in that group? If so, check out my top ten saving strategies for tips to increase your savings rapidly without any significant pain.  On the other hand, nearly 20% of you have more than the standard financial planner recommendation of three to six months.  Yet, in this economy, I can appreciate your increased conservatism, especially if you’re in one of the many affected industries.
  • You’re an optimistic group of investors. Not a single poll respondent expects the S&P 500 to lose more than 5% in 2010.    Yet, 67% of you think the market will increase by more than 5%.  (I hope you’re right, but I’d give you only 50-50 odds.)
  • You’re more likely to over-spend on services than on goods by a margin of 29% to 24%.  Me too (and I didn’t vote).    More people indicated their spouse (14%) was too expensive for their income than was their house (7%).  I wonder who picked out their home.

What surprised you?  What question would you like to poll the Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck readership?

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