It’s official. 2017 is here. It’s time to work on your goals and plans for the New Year. Financial goals always top everyone’s New Year’s resolutions – save more, spend less, pay off debts and invest, to name a few. But unfortunately, studies show that only 8% of us actually stick to our New Year’s resolutions. The intention is there – writing financial goals, starting a monthly budget, but the execution is where we usually fail. Making a budget is useless if we don’t stick to it. It’s really all about behavior and our habits towards our finances.
To get you started, here are 3 moves to start your 2017 right and set you up for financial success through the whole year.
1. Pay-Off Holiday Debts
If you went over your holiday budget this year (you probably swiped those credit cards a few times more last December), don’t just ignore it. Confront the damage and devise a pay-off plan. See where you can make adjustments and find ways to earn extra money on the side to pay-off holiday debts and recover fast.
2. Increase your Savings
Challenge yourself today and thank yourself in the future. A tip from Lifewiseadvisors.com is to increase your savings rate by 2% in 2017. Aim to save 10-20% of your pre-tax income for retirement. Primer Magazine also suggests to bump up your 401(k) contribution to 10% or at least increase it to a level where you will maximize any company match.
By automating your savings, you get to save money right away before you even get the chance to spend it.
3. Assess last year’s habits.
Reflect on what you did last year and assess what you did to help and hurt your finances. This will allow you to see your financial mistakes and learn from it. At the same time, you get to see which strategies helped you accomplish your 2016 goals and then replicate that for 2017.
If you have your own family, take time and schedule a family financial chat. It’s important that the whole family is on the same page when it comes to financial goals and practicing good financial habits.
No matter how much we plan to change our habits or create goals for our future, it still goes down to our behavior. Keep your eyes on the prize and focus on how you can change your behaviors to achieve your goals.