What consumers most want in 2020: a debt-free life

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Consumers plan to fight a different battle of the bulge next year.

A new survey has found that 84% of individuals said they would rather save $5,000 than lose 5 pounds.

What’s more, 84% of consumers also said they would prefer to reduce their debts than lower their computer or phone screen time.

That’s according to the 2020 New Year Financial Resolutions Study conducted by Boston-based Fidelity Investments, which included an online survey of 3,012 adults ages 18 and up.

The results come as consumer debt hit a record $4 trillion in 2019.

The two top resolutions for next year, the survey found, are saving more and reducing debt, followed by spending less.

When asked what could get in their way when it comes to achieving their financial goals, 51% of respondents said unexpected expenses.

That was followed by other concerns such as personal debt, not saving enough, rising health-care costs and the economy.

When it came to 2019, many individuals were optimistic about their financial year. About 33% of respondents said they did not make any big financial mistakes.

Meanwhile, 28% said they took on new debts or added to their existing balances.

The best way to make sure you make progress towards your 2020 goals is to be specific about what you want to achieve, said Maura Cassidy, vice president of retirement and small business at Fidelity.

“Make it really clear and be realistic about being able maintain goals,” Cassidy said.

Also try setting small milestones, she suggested. So if you want to save $1,000 or $5,000, recognize your achievement when you save $100 or $1,000 toward that goal.

“A small goal is easier to snowball into a larger result,” Cassidy said.

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