In the New Year, consumers have said decreasing debt is their number one priority with savings taking a back seat, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling reported Monday in its monthly online survey of 6,100 individuals.
Foundation officials said they found the disinterest in savings "worrisome" for financial institutions and underscoring the need for stepped up financial education.
In its online poll, NFCC asked consumers about their financial New Year's resolutions and of the respondents, 76% said they seek to decrease debt, 6% increase savings, 11% improve credit scores and 7% decrease dependence on credit cards.
"Decreasing debt is certainly a worthwhile goal," said the NFCC. "However, seeing only 6% of respondents citing saving as a top financial priority is worrisome and the problem is compounded when contrasted against the advice given by the NFCC Member Agency CEOs who list savings as their number one tip for financial stability."
The disparity "suggests a real need" for heightened financial literacy, said the NFCC which has been recommending consumers move 10% of monthly paystubs into savings. NFCC, based in Silver Spring, Md. is the nation's largest trade group serving nonprofit counseling agencies with 850 offices in the U.S.