More Americans plan to increase savings in 2012

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More Americans want to save money in 2012, according to a survey by Fidelity Investments.

The average annual target is $2,400, double what people said they wanted to save in 2011 – $1,200.

For the third year, the top two resolutions for Fidelity customers include saving more and spending less.

Paying off debt jumped into the top three this year, replacing “making a budget,” according to Fidelity. Last year, paying off debt was seventh on the list, with only 8 percent of those with financial resolutions considering it.

However, one third of the respondents said they are in less debt today compared to the same time last year.

In the year over year comparison, 62 percent said that saving for long-term goals outweighs saving for short-term goals. The top long-term goal cited was saving more for retirement in an IRA or workplace savings plan, followed by saving for college and retiree health care costs.

Short-term savings goals shifted from last year, saving for a household upgrade or repair made the top of the list followed by building an emergency fund and saving for a home. Fewer people are saving for cars or luxury items.

The savings priorities could be a result of the fact that Americans do not believe the country is out of a recession. Nearly four in 10 say they are not confident in their ability to make the right investment decisions, given the current economy and market volatility.

But that uncertainty means that 85 percent of Americans who resolve to save more money believe their behavior is likely to continue as the economy recovers. About 66 percent of those considering a financial resolutions say the economic events of the past year will help them stick with the resolutions made in 2011.