The Rich Get Yellower: Study Finds Financial Categories Top Phone Directory References

On the eve of a new year, new research indicates Americans are placing financial planning at the top of their list of resolutions for 2004, and a related set of research results indicates that Yellow Pages may be one of the primary sources used to fulfill those plans. Insurance, banks, accountants, mortgages, and tax returns accounted for about 500 million Yellow Pages references during 2002, making financial services one of the most heavily referenced advertising categories in the nation's phone directories, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association.

The findings, which were derived from research conducted by Knowledge Networks/Statistical Research Inc., indicate that insurance and bank headings ranked particularly high in Yellow Pages searches: 244.3 million references were made to Insurance, which made it the 11th ranked search heading, while bank headings were referenced 179 million times and were ranked 14th overall.

The study also revealed that women are more influential than ever in household financial decisions. According to Mary Lou Quinlan, New York-based marketing and advertising consultant, "More than 80 percent of financial decisions are made or influenced by women."



Meanwhile, a separate survey released Tuesday by CoolSavings found that nearly eight of ten Americans expect to have less debt in the coming year. One third of the respondents said "improving their financial situation" was their top resolution, falling just behind the perennial resolution to "becoming more physically fit." More than half (57 percent) expected to put money away in savings in the New Year.

Of those surveyed, two thirds (62 percent) said they review their financial situation on a monthly basis and when asked the best ways to spend less, consumers indicated that coupons (88 percent), shopping at discount stores (82 percent), and limiting credit card usage (72 percent) were the top three methods for doing so.

While saving is certainly in the collective consumer conscience, savings strategies tend to differ, according to the CoolSavings findings. The favorite response among those surveyed was to track spending manually or with a computer program. "Using the computer for managing your money is becoming widely accepted," said Ken Treske, chief marketing officer of CoolSavings. "Not only can you keep better track of expenses, but you can use the Internet to comparison shop, research products, and find valuable savings before you shop online and in traditional stores."

Added Treske, "Consumers are becoming more aware of their daily spending habits and how important it is to evaluate and improve these habits in order to save money."

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