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Integrity Counts: Survey Shows Keeping Your Word as Biggest Motivator to Keeping Promises

Study reveals how, why and to whom people make, keep and break promises


RICHMOND, Va, Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW). Keeping their word. This is the number one reason Americans aim to keep a promise, according to the recent Genworth Promises Survey. The survey, designed to uncover why and to whom people make and keep promises, also revealed that people are highly motivated by family priorities. Sixty percent of U.S. adults reported they keep promises to satisfy a loved one, and 59 percent to show they care. When it came to delivering on their promises, more than half of those who have ever made a promise, 65 percent, gave themselves an "A" in keeping promises. The Genworth Promises Survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive(R) among 2,235 U.S. adults aged 18+ on behalf of Genworth Financial, was released today.

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Genworth Financial is committed to helping customers keep their most important promises: those that will protect their family, their lifestyle and their retirement. To that end, Genworth conducted this survey as part of the company's ongoing efforts to understand how and to whom Americans make commitments, particularly when it comes to saving and planning for the future.

The survey also provided insight into why people don't keep promises. Men more often attributed lack of time and forgetfulness as the reasons why they break promises more so than women, and women blamed finances as the culprit more than men.

"Overall, the Genworth Promises study revealed that Americans today have a strong desire to be reliable, but also found a strong commitment to being fiscally conservative in today's socioeconomic environment," said Kathleen Gurney, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Financial Psychology Corporation. "It also showed that women and men differ on what promises they chose to make and why they sometimes break promises, even if it's not their intention. By working together and building on each other's strengths, couples can find ways to help each other keep their promises to their loved ones, and together reach their goals of being dependable spouses, family members, parents and friends."

The survey showed that across the board, men and women promised to save more and spend less in 2011; however, the survey did show differences in how men and women planned to do this. According to the survey, women are more likely to promise to create a budget than men, and men are more likely to save for retirement/children's education and invest than women.

"The survey results indicate that people today want to be dependable members of their family; they want to be there for those that need them. We want to be able to make promises, and keep our word in the moments that matter for our families, whether it's a promise to save for a child's future, stick to the family budget, or provide a fruitful retirement," said Gurney.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Genworth Financial from October 29 - November 2, 2010 among 2,235 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

Gurney's Tips to Keep a Promise to a Loved One

  1. Think team: Use your partner as your "promise coach." Give them permission to remind you about the promise and agree that reminders will be considered "helpful" and not "nagging."
  2. Create a shared need: Develop a promise that you'll be able to keep and value both for yourself and for your partner. It's important to understand what keeping the promise will mean for you both.
  3. Assure success: Be certain that your promise can pass the "3-R test" to assure you can keep it. Promises should be reasonable, realistic and rewarding.
  4. Think dependability and integrity: Make a serious commitment to what it will mean to loved ones -- that you are dependable and that you care about your word.
  5. Be patient but determined: If you slip up momentarily, take an inventory of what's been working well and keep reinforcing those actions. Then take a look at what you'd like to improve and make a plan for doubling up your efforts to succeed.


About Genworth Financial

Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 global financial security company. Genworth has more than $100 billion in assets and employs approximately 6,500 people with a presence in more than 25 countries. Its products and services help meet the investment, protection, retirement and lifestyle needs of more than 15 million customers. Genworth operates through three segments: Retirement and Protection, U.S. Mortgage Insurance and International. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit From time to time Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of

SOURCE: Genworth Financial

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