That tired old saying of “don’t do what we do, do what we say” may finally be paying off, at least as far as taking a more prudent approach to money and finances.

A new survey commissioned by Chase Card Services and U.S. News and World Report found that adults age 18 to 34 are more likely to want to save more, spend less and pay down their debt than their spendthrift parents.

Setting goals

The study, titled the Chase Slate-U.S. News Consumer Monitor, found that while overall, one in four consumers set a personal financial goal as their main New Year’s resolution, four out of five -- including 98 percent of people aged 18-34 -- indicated they will try to save more money in 2011. Three in five will even try to develop a budget.

Tom O’Donnell, general manager, Chase Card Services says most young adults are clearly more committed to actively managing their financial situation than their parents are. He added that 65 percent wanted more tools and resources to manage their personal finances better versus just 45 percent for the general population.

The survey was conducted for Chase and U.S. News by Ipsos Public Affairs, which surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide about their personal finance goals and general economic outlook entering 2011.

Growing optimism

The survey found that 61 percent of consumers were more optimistic about the year ahead than they were last year and slightly more than half have little to no anxiety about 2011. Among 18-34 year olds, 70 percent were more optimistic than last year – significantly more than any other age group surveyed.

When asked to make a personal financial resolution for 2011, young adults were twice as likely to want to save money as their parents and grandparents and significantly more likely to want to better manage their finances than older segments of the population.

In addition, the survey found that planning translates into confidence -- 18-34 year olds are also more likely to believe both the economy and their personal finances are getting better than other age groups.

In addition, young adults are at the forefront of setting financial goals. They are more than three times more likely to use an online program to budget their money than those ages 65 and older.