Survey Finds Four in Five Americans Say They Are Saving for the Future

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 15, 1998 — Countering the common perception that Americans prefer to buy now and pay later, four in five respondents in a recent survey said they are saving money for the future. Nearly two-thirds of respondents named
“saving for retirement”
as their top personal finance goal, followed by funding their children’s education, buying a home and achieving a sense of financial security.

The survey, commissioned by Microsoft Corp. for the launch of Microsoft® Money 99 Financial Suite, was conducted among 800 Americans in August by the Charlton Research Co., a national research and consulting firm specializing in consumer polling*.

Economic Concern Spurs Saving

Amid a climate of growing economic uncertainty, Americans appear to be focusing on long-term financial goals. Pollsters reported that while 80 percent of respondents said they are focused on long-term savings, the percentage would have been even higher if the survey had excluded Americans age 65 and older, because only 68 percent of those respondents said they are saving for the future.

On what goals are consumers focused as they save money? The poll found that the majority of respondents, 59 percent, were saving for retirement. As expected, younger Americans were less concerned about retirement savings than were those over age 30. However, even among survey respondents ages 18 to 24, one in five cited retirement as their top savings objective.

Financial planning is considered a virtue in the American heartland, and it’s fitting that the Midwest led the way in the percentage of respondents who said they are saving money for the future, 88 percent. That compared with 79 percent in the West, 77 percent in the South, and 75 percent in the Northeast.

“As we developed Microsoft Money 99 Financial Suite, consumers told us that long-term financial planning is among their biggest priorities, so we were impressed, but not surprised, by how many Americans are saving money and planning for retirement,”
said Julie O’Brien, product manager of Money 99 Financial Suite at Microsoft.
“Money 99 Financial Suite provides long-term planning tools that are linked to daily financial decisions, so consumers can better understand the benefits of saving for their future.”

When developing Money 99 Financial Suite, Microsoft sought the long-term financial planning expertise of American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA), one of the oldest and largest financial services companies in the United States, and collaborated with the company throughout the development of Money 99 Financial Suite.

Most Consumers Manage Money Weekly

Just how interested are consumers in their finances overall? According to the survey,
52 percent of respondents reported managing their money at least once a week, and 31 percent said they paid attention to finances at least three times a week. Despite these figures, one-third of Americans said they don’t spend enough time managing their money, which suggests that despite their desire to do so, many consumers are neglecting to manage their personal finances.

“With rising economic concern and recent fluctuations in the stock market, there is a growing sense among Americans that they ought to manage their economic prospects more aggressively, but many people feel ill-equipped to do so,”
said Charles F. Rund, president of the Charlton Research Co.

About Microsoft Money 99 Products

In addition to personalized and long-term financial planning tools, Microsoft Money 99 Financial Suite combines award-winning investment services and seamless Web integration to help consumers better manage their finances.

Microsoft Money Financial Suite is available nationally from authorized resellers at an estimated retail price of $39.95, after a $25 rebate. Microsoft Money 99 Basic is available for an estimated retail price of $24.95, after a $10 rebate. Both rebates are available through Nov. 30, 1999 (valid in the 50 United States and District of Columbia only). In addition, Microsoft Money Personal & Business is scheduled to be available in January 1999 and combines the functionality of Money 99 Financial Suite with business management tools designed for sole proprietors.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

* The margin of error for this survey was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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