Repaying credit card debt a popular New Year’s resolution

Though many American consumers are feeling the financial pinch of the holiday season, they are also feeling optimistic about their finances in the coming year, according to a study conducted by the financial services firm Principal Financial Group. The most recent Principal Financial Well-Being Index, which is issued quarterly by the company, indicates that 35 percent of survey respondents list paying off credit card debt as their New Year’s resolution. Another 30 percent claimed they had resolved to save more in the coming year.

These efforts by American consumers to improve their bad credit history and get out of debt translate into greater optimism reported by participants. A full 40 percent of respondents said that they expect the economy to improve in 2011, an increase from the findings of the previous quarter. Americans are also reporting greater satisfaction with their current financial situation, with 31 percent claiming “extreme happiness” with their current finances.

“While the road may still be bumpy, many Americans are taking personal responsibility to improve both their short and long term financial well-being,” said Luke Vandermillen, vice president of retirement and investment services at Principal Financial Group.