Do Your Political Views Color How You Handle Money?
For the Presidents Day holiday, the coupon websiteRetailMeNot (SALE) conducted a survey to see how people's political leanings and financial habits aligned.
Consumers were asked to select their political affiliations (e.g. "conservative," "liberal," "Democrat," "Republican") and then queried about everything from their personal debt ceilings to their savings habits, spending plans, and investing practices.
While not every question yielded a perfect correlation between political stereotypes and spending/saving habits, the survey did show that consumers who call themselves conservatives are more likely to describe themselves as savers (66 percent vs. 53 percent of liberals calling themselves savers). On the flip side, consumers who label themselves as liberals are more likely to call themselves spenders (47 percent vs. 34 percent of conservatives who say they're spenders).
Other findings blur the party lines a bit:
Both Democrats and Republicans report suffering from a debt hangover from the 2013 holidays. Democrats have an average debt of $260 in leftover holiday spending, and Republicans aren't far behind, with $248 still to pay off. Independents had the lowest holiday debt hangover, with $218.
Mistrust of the financial system -- or at least refusal to deal with it -- appears among both Democrats and Republicans. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats say they stash their cash at home -- not in a bank or brokerage.
As far as savings goals, conservatives and moderates are more likely to save for retirement (30 percent and 29 percent) than liberals (22 percent). And liberals are more likely to save for college or grad school tuition (23 percent vs. 16 percent of conservatives and 14 percent of moderates.
Stashing money in a coffee can won't help much in reaching those savings goals. (That cash won't even keep up with inflation over the long term.) Most long-term goals require a smart investing plan. And in this area it's Republicans (31 percent) who use financial investments as a way to save money more than Democrats (19 percent).
As far as shopping the economy back to health, liberals and moderates plan to shell out some big money this year (on a new or upgraded big-ticket item like a tech gadget, furniture, or appliance). Just 56 percent of conservatives say they intend to make a major purchase this year, compared to 71 percent of liberals and 66 percent of moderates.
When you look at your own spending habits, do you see a correlation with your political leanings? Chime in below. The online survey was conducted Dec. 26-Jan. 3 and involved 1,014 U.S. residents 18 and older, reached via an email invitation.
Michele Lerner has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends RetailMeNot. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.