As the new year approaches, many people take the opportunity to reflect on their financial habits and make resolutions to improve them in the coming year. These resolutions can be a great way to set yourself up for financial success and achieve your goals.
Here’s the bad news: An estimated 91% of Americans end up abandoning their New Year’s resolutions before the end of January.
In fact, the pattern is so clear that January 19th has been nicknamed “Quitter’s Day.”
Yet… 9% of people are able to achieve their resolutions. What sets them apart from everyone else? Why are they able to achieve their resolutions and goals while everyone else appears to struggle?
I think a large part of the picture that’s overlooked is how we set resolutions in the first place. If you want to set a financial resolution, it’s important to differentiate between a resolution and a goal.
Simply put, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something, while a goal is a desired result that you are striving to achieve. In other words, a resolution is a commitment to take action, while a goal is the end result that you hope to achieve through that action.
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Examples of financial resolutions include:
- Saving more money
- Paying off debt
- Investing in your future
Compare that to the specificness of (SMART) goals
- Pay off credit card debt by December 2023
- Save enough money for the family to go to Disney for summer vacation
- Have enough saved for a down payment on a House by my birthday
In other words, a good financial resolution should be something that you can exercise in your day-to-day life. Think of it as a financial lifestyle, so to speak, and this intentional lifestyle is what allows you to achieve your goals!
So why does this matter?
It’s important to set yourself up for success in the new year. By differentiating between resolutions and goals, you’ll be better equipped to make your financial vision a reality.
Below are some financial resolutions to consider, as well as tips on how to achieve them.
Save More Money
Saving money can be a challenging task, especially in today's world where it can be easy to spend money with just a tap of a finger. However, with a little bit of effort and some careful planning, it is possible to save more money and build a solid financial foundation for the future.
One of the first steps to saving more money is to create a budget. This can help you to track your income and expenses, and identify areas where you may be able to cut back on spending. You can create a budget by listing all of your income sources, such as your salary, any investments, or other sources of income. Then, list all of your expenses, including bills, groceries, and other regular expenses. Subtract your expenses from your income to determine how much money you have left over each month.
Next, look for ways to cut back on your expenses. For example, you can reduce your monthly bills by shopping around for better rates on things like your cable or internet service. You can also save money on groceries by planning your meals in advance and using coupons or shopping at discount stores. Other ways to save money on expenses include cutting back on dining out, reducing your entertainment budget, and finding ways to save on gas or transportation costs.
Another way to save more money is to increase your income. This can be done by finding a higher paying job, asking for a raise, or starting a side hustle. You can also earn more money by selling items that you no longer need or by taking on freelance or part-time work.
You’ll also want to consider putting some of your money into a savings account. This can help you to build a financial cushion that you can use in case of an emergency, such as a sudden illness or job loss. You can also use your savings to pay for big expenses, such as a vacation or a new car. To make the most of your savings, be sure to shop around for the best interest rates and consider setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account.
Finally, one of the best ways to save more money is to change your mindset about spending. Instead of viewing money as something to be spent, try to think of it as something to be saved and invested. This can help you to make more thoughtful decisions about how you spend your money, and it can also motivate you to save more in the long run.
Reduce Or Pay Off Debt
Paying off debt can be a daunting task, but it is possible with the right mindset and plan. Here are some steps to help you pay off your debt:
- Take inventory of your debt. Make a list of all your debts, including the creditor, interest rate, and minimum monthly payment for each. This will help you see the full picture of your debt and prioritize which ones to pay off first.
- Prioritize your debts. One approach is to focus on paying off the debts with the highest interest rates first, since these will cost you more in the long run. Another approach is to pay off the smallest debts first, to give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue. Choose the approach that works best for you.
- Make more than the minimum payment. Paying only the minimum on your credit card or loan will prolong the repayment period and increase the total amount you pay in interest. If you can afford it, try to pay more than the minimum each month. This will help you pay off the debt faster and save on interest.
- Consider consolidating your debt. If you have multiple credit cards or loans with high-interest rates, consolidating them into one loan with a lower interest rate can save you money and make repayment easier. Just be sure to read the fine print and understand the terms of the consolidation loan before you agree to it.
- Seek help if you need it. If your debt is overwhelming and you are having trouble making payments, consider seeking help from a credit counselor or financial advisor. They can help you create a plan to pay off your debt and improve your financial situation.
Paying off debt takes time and dedication, but it is worth it in the end. By taking control of your finances and making a plan, you can become debt-free and improve your financial well-being.
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Invest In Your Future
Investing in the future is an important part of planning for your financial future. It can help you grow your wealth and ensure that you have the resources you need to live the life you want. There are many different ways to invest, and choosing the right approach will depend on your individual circumstances and goals.
One of the most common ways to invest for the future is through stocks. Buying stocks gives you ownership in a company, and as the company grows and becomes more successful, the value of your stocks can increase. This can provide a great return on your investment, but it also carries some risk. The stock market can be volatile, and the value of your stocks can go up and down quickly.
Another option for investing for the future is through bonds. When you buy a bond, you are lending money to a government or corporation. In return, they agree to pay you a fixed interest rate over a specific period of time. This can provide a steady stream of income, but the returns are generally lower than those from stocks.
Real estate is also a popular investment for the future. When you invest in real estate, you are buying a physical property that you can rent out or sell for a profit. Real estate can provide a great return on your investment, but it also comes with some challenges. You will need to manage the property and deal with any repairs or maintenance issues that come up.
Investing in your own education and skills can also be a great way to invest in your future. By acquiring new knowledge and expertise, you can improve your job prospects and increase your earning potential. This can help you build a strong financial foundation for the future.
No matter which approach you choose, it is important to remember that investing for the future is a long-term process. Don't expect to see immediate results, and be prepared to weather any ups and downs in the market. With patience and persistence, you can build a strong financial future for yourself and your loved ones.
What are some of your financial resolutions and goals? How are you achieving them? Let me know in the comments below!
If you’d like to connect with other people focused on a prosperous 2023, I encourage you to join TBM Family on Facebook. Hope to see you there!