What would you rather have for free? A financial expert managing your money? A personal trainer whipping you into shape? Or a nutritionist planning your meals?
Before I tell you what most Americans told pollsters, let’s eliminate some options.
This time every year, the media is dominated with stories about New Year’s resolutions. The leading one is always about health. Last year, Nielsen pollsters revealed the top two resolutions were “stay fit and healthy” (37 percent) and “lose weight” (32 percent). “Spend less, save more” registered only 25 percent.
This year looks no different, according to a new poll by insurance firm Allianz Life: “44 percent of respondents reported their top focus for 2016 will be on health/wellness, with financial stability trailing at 29 percent.”
Well, it seems Americans might resolve to get in shape this time each year, but they don’t feel like they need professional help to do so.
Allianz turned its own poll on its head by asking, “If you had free access to the best of these, rank the importance of these professionals…”
- Financial planner: 37 percent
- Nutritionist: 28 percent
- Personal trainer: 23 percent
- Career counselor: 12 percent
This proves something I’ve long believed: Money is the most complicated part of our lives.
Sure, nutrition is incredibly complex, with new research conflicting previous advice: Eat less fat! No, eat less carbs! Margarine is better than butter! No, it’s the opposite! Still, for our daily meals, we know what we need to do, whether we decide to follow our own advice or binge on a burger or cookies.
It’s the same for exercising. Ask anyone who’s hired a personal trainer, and you’ll hear, “It’s more about motivation than education.” We know how to exercise at least casually, it’s simply that we don’t want to.
Money is different.
While we know we should save more and spend less on items we don’t need, how to practically do that is actually difficult. Do I pay off the credit card with the highest balance first? Or the one with the highest interest rate? I’m a CPA for more than two decades, and I’ve debated this point with other financial experts.
You can also attack your debt by consulting our do-it-yourself Debt Solutions Center, which explains everything in plain English. However, if you need professional help to pay down your debts by this time next year, Debt.com points you to reliable, proven, affordable sources. In other words, if you want your New Year’s resolution to be, “I want to resolve my debt in 2016,” we can be your personal financial trainer.
Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.