Savings Accounts Top List of Financial Products Americans Are Most Thankful for

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Despite historically low yields, Americans say they are more thankful for savings accounts than they are for stocks, credit cards, payday loans and other popular financial products, according to a new study from MoneyRates.com.

The popularity of savings accounts may reflect an era of low expectations. Sure, interest rates are next to nothing, but after what people have been though financially in recent years, you can’t beat security.

Savings accounts may not pay what they used to, but they are still the financial tool Americans are most thankful for in 2014, according to a new study by personal finance website MoneyRates.com. Savings accounts topped stocks, bonds, credit cards, debit cards and payday loans to earn the distinction. Overall, roughly one-third of the survey’s respondents indicated they were most thankful for savings accounts.

Savings accounts bested the next most popular option among respondents, debit cards, by roughly 9 percentage points. Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com, says that the triumph of the simple savings account over flashier products such as stocks and credit cards may be a result of the economic difficulties Americans have faced since the Great Recession.

“(The popularity of savings accounts) may reflect an era of low expectations,” says Barrington. “Sure, interest rates are next to nothing, but after what people have been though financially in recent years, you can’t beat security.”

While savings accounts were the most popular option for men and women alike, the data also revealed several differences in the degree of thankfulness men and women feel toward various financial tools. The percentage of men who are most thankful for stocks and bonds, for example, was roughly 12 percentage points higher than the percentage of women who said the same. By contrast, women are more likely to be most thankful for savings accounts and debit cards than men are, by a difference of about 5 percentage points in each category.

Men are also about three times more likely than women to be thankful for payday loans, though the overall percentage of respondents who chose this option was small, at less than 3 percent.

When the survey’s respondents were asked which financial achievements they would be most thankful to accomplish by next year, both men and women chose “increasing savings” as their No. 1 ambition, though women were about 6 percentage points more likely to choose this option than men.

The similarities between sexes eroded further in the rest of the results, with nearly twice as many men as women indicating they would be most thankful to buy a home in the coming year. The difference was similar when it came to “building a stronger investment portfolio,” with men again nearly twice as likely as women to choose this as the achievement they’d be most thankful for.

Instead, women were more likely than men to favor “reducing debt” as the task they’d be most thankful to achieve, with 38 percent choosing this option, compared with only 29 percent of men.

Barrington says that some of the findings suggest both sexes are using wise financial habits. Overall, respondents were significantly more likely to say they were most thankful for their debit cards instead of their credit cards, by a margin of about 9 percentage points. This preference, which held true across both sexes, may signal that consumers are wary of the high relative costs that come with short-term borrowing.

“Assuming people are watching their balances and not causing overdrafts, (the popularity of debit cards) suggests more cost-effective spending habits,” says Barrington. “Either way, people have to watch how much they spend, but when they spend it is cheaper to use their own money than to borrow the bank’s.”

For more details on this survey, please see http://www.money-rates.com/research-center/what-americans-are-financially-thankful-for.htm.

Methodology

This survey was conducted by Op4G on behalf of MoneyRates.com in June 2014. It surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, with an even split between men and women.

About MoneyRates.com

MoneyRates.com has been a leading source of information on bank rates, personal finance, savings accounts and investing since 1999. The site seeks to provide the highest rates on CDs, money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts. MoneyRates.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to find, research and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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