Acorns Study Finds Americans Prioritizing Health Spending, Additional Saving

When it comes to personal finance matters, it’s easy to get bogged down in bad news. However, on a brighter note, it looks as though more young adults are adopting better financial habits. Today the micro-investing app Acorns released their Money Matters Report for 2018, which asked 3,400 Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 about their various money habits, goals, and more. The results included some interesting trends along with some encouraging signs.

First of the big themes found in this year’s report was an emphasis on health. Obviously health care has been major topic in the United States since around the time the Affordable Care Act (A.K.A. “Obamacare”) passed but has continued to be a hot button issue as repeal efforts have been made and policy premiums have risen. Not surprisingly then 61% of those surveyed reported dedicating as much as $100 a month to their health care. On a similar note, when asked what expenses they would cut, healthcare was the last thing on most respondents’ list.

As Acorns points out, as much as Americans are focusing on their physical health, they’re also increasing efforts to maintain or achieve financial health as well. The 2018 report found that just under one-quarter (24%) or those surveyed were setting aside $50 to $100 a month for savings while 14% are socking away upwards of $400 a month. Additionally a slight majority invested at least some money in 2018. Of the 53% that reported investing during the year, more than 80% say their total was between $100 and $5,000. Meanwhile 45% said they’d like to start investing but are waiting for other factors to fall into place such as getting a raise/a new job or are waiting until they pay down debt.

Of course, in terms of investing, many respondents still had concerns. Among those who expressed hesitance about investing, 37% cited the prospect of losing money as their top concern. Another one-third felt they didn’t have enough money to invest while 29% said they lacked the necessary knowledge. It’s worth noting that Acorns actively attempts to assuage such concerns by enabling users to invest their digital spare change in portfolios of stocks and bonds, allowing them to learn about investing in a relatively low-stakes manner.

While we know that most respondents aren’t interested in cutting out their healthcare costs to save money, what is on the chopping block? For many the top response was food delivery with 55% of those surveyed saying such services were the first to go when they were looking to save money. Speaking of food and beverage another odd but interesting note was that 60% of respondents report that they invested more money in 2018 than they spent on coffee during the year. Also somewhat related and equally fascinating is that, more or less confirming another recent study that found Americans hesitant to discuss money manners, the Acorns report found that 58% of respondents would rather discuss their weight than disclose how much money they have in savings.

All things considered, the Acorns’ 2018 Money Matters Report seems to be fairly positive as it shows many Americans taking control of their finances by prioritizing savings and investments. That said there is always a long way to go. Perhaps Acorns CEO Noah Kerner summed things up best, saying, “Financial confidence and hope are fundamental to health and wellness and no one should have to compromise. Imagine the impact that a financial wellness system for everyday Americans can have on our nation’s overall wellness.”

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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