SunTrust Holiday Survey: Majority of Americans Would Give Up Gifts for Gatherings

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69 percent) said they would skip exchanging gifts this holiday season if their friends and family agreed to it, according to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Banks, Inc.. A majority of those who spend time buying or making gifts (60 percent) said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn't have to worry about gifts.

The survey findings suggest that financial anxiety during the holidays is taking its toll on many Americans and could be a reason for rethinking gift-giving and focusing on other priorities. Forty-three percent of those who spend money on anything related to the holidays said they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford. If they didn't have to buy gifts, 25 percent would use the money on activities with friends and family, 37 percent would pay down debt and 47 percent would save or invest.

With so much pressure to overspend, it can seem impossible to get finances under control. To help reduce gift-giving stress this holiday season, SunTrust is giving the gift of financial confidence with The onUp Challenge, a free, gamified experience that turns finances into an adventure. The interactive program provides a fun and informative way for players to make real progress toward financial goals – especially during the holidays.

"The holidays are full of joy, celebration and an unmentioned pressure to spend," said Brian Nelson Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust. "During a time of year when financial stress is traditionally high, a little smart spending, preparation and planning can lead to financial confidence and enhance the joy of the season."

The onUp Challenge guides players through a virtual exploration of "Confidence Island" where they can take specific actions to gain control over their finances, including:

  1. Identifying values. Recognizing what is important can help you prioritize where money should be spent. Categories include time with kids, playing sports, financing a child's education, date nights, family trips and more.

  2. Creating a confidence account. A well-funded savings account will make you feel more confident in other areas of life. This account is the foundation for achieving your goals. Consider automating the savings process, which is the best way to consistently put money aside.

  3. Building a budget that works. A budget can be liberating if it is aligned with your values. A key step on the road to financial confidence is directing spending to the things that matter most.

  4. Investing for happiness now and in the future. Accumulating wealth isn't just about a comfortable retirement; it's about having the financial resources to do what you love now and in the future.

  5. Maximizing money-making. Once you've begun investing in your financial future, it's time to invest in yourself. Identify ways to maximize your earnings potential and explore how you can give more back to others who may not be as far down the road to financial confidence.