With the New Year approaching, take time to make a list of your financial resolutions. Financial resolutions can be especially difficult to stick with because, like eating and exercising, our spending, saving and investing habits tend to be tied to our emotions more than our logic. Here are five tips for keeping your financial resolutions:
1. Form new habits by tying them to current behavior. If you have a regular system for paying bills, make a “bill” for your financial savings goals and pay it (by making a contribution to your retirement plan, college funding account, etc.) while you pay the other bills.
2. Put them on autopilot. One of the easiest ways to keep saving and investing goals is to set up automatic deposits or investments. Payroll deduction for 401(k) contributions or reimbursement accounts are great examples – you never have possession of the cash, so you don’t feel the pain of taking it out of your spending money. Contact your human resources department now about starting or increasing your contributions.
3. Make your resolutions achievable and realistic. Many people make resolutions without much planning or forethought – and fail the same way. If you are serious about your financial resolutions, do some homework, crunch some numbers and put your plan in writing.
4. Break them down into small steps. Trying to keep too many resolutions at once will leave you feeling overwhelmed. Instead of making or implementing resolutions for the whole year now, break them down and add one or two each quarter.
5. Work with an accountability partner or coach. Anyone who has tried to implement a weight loss or exercise plan knows that a buddy system increases the odds of success. If you need help sticking to your financial resolutions, you may want to consider consulting with a Certified Financial Advisor who can work with you to create a plan for keeping your resolutions, whether they include college planning for your child or grandchild, or funding your retirement. By doing so this can help to make 2013 a happy and prosperous new year!
Where The Jobs Are – Of the top seven occupations expected to create the greatest number of new jobs through the year 2018, none require a four-year college degree. The top two jobs on the list are registered nurse and home health aide (source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).
Borrowing Maximum – The U.S. debt ceiling is currently $16.4 trillion. This self-imposed limit on our country’s ability to borrow funds has been increased by Congress 82 times since 1940, most recently in January 2012 (source: Congress, BTN Research).
Too Many Homes – At the end of 1989, there were 60 million families that owned a home and 34 million families that rented a home or an apartment. At the end of 2011 (i.e., 22 years later), there were 75 million families that owned a home, i.e., an increase of 25 percent, and 39 million families that rented, i.e., an increase of 15 percent (source: Department of Housing and Urban Development, BTN Research).