Maybe you only have one resolution this year. Maybe you have a laundry list of resolutions and a goal of being so self-actualized your friends and family will hardly recognize you! Maybe your resolution is to not have a resolution.
1. Set A Goal (and Write It Down)
Goal setting gives you direction. You can decide on your destination and make a plan to get there. This might seem small, but it’s not. Not only is goal setting found to be linked to higher achievement and self-confidence, but writing down your goal can also make you 42% more likely to succeed.
2. Get Clear
Getting clear on your priorities and deciding on a specific goal are two keys to success. When it comes to your money and your financial situation, set aside some time to reflect on what you really want to accomplish – and be specific.
Ask yourself three “W” questions:
- What do you want to accomplish?
- When will you achieve it?
- Why does it matter to you?
Visualizing a dollar amount can lead to success, whether it is a specific figure to save, pay off or earn in the year ahead. Keep that figure alive by writing it down or tracking it in an app. A real dollar amount makes for a real goal. Give yourself a deadline while you’re at it, to motivate you even further.
3. Be Positive and Realistic
Goals can challenge you and help you grow into a new future. Choosing a goal that is attainable is another important part of success. Let’s say you’ve chosen a clear goal – with a positive outcome – such as: “In five years, I will be debt free. I will pay off my entire debt of $12,000 so that I can focus on enjoying my family instead of worrying about money.” Be sure it’s a realistic goal given your specific situation. Given your income, debts and expenses, is it realistic to spend $200 on your goal each month? Is it possible to pay it off even faster by spending $250 a month? Or does your budget allow for $100? Staying positive and realistic shows you how much you can devote to achieving your money resolution.
4. Hit Those Milestones
Making your goal measurable will help it stick. Keeping track of your progress can help you stay focused and motivated. Tracking progress on an app or spreadsheet, or a simple notebook, helps you see your future getting closer and closer. Break your goal into smaller milestones. This makes it easier to see your progress and it’s less intimidating. For example, a mini-resolution might be to pay off one consumer credit card. Making smaller changes over time is often easier than trying to make a massive change all at once. Celebrate your success along the way. Celebrating wins actually “trains your brain” by reinforcing your new habits, which in turn makes it easier to stay on track if you hit a bump in the road at some point.
5. Make (and Work) The Plan
Money resolutions often go by the wayside if they serve as a goal without a plan. A plan outlines how you will accomplish your goal. Keep it simple. The plan might dearly define how much you will spend toward your goal, how often you’ll make deposits on it, and the method you’ll use to transfer money toward your goal. For instance, automating monthly payments or savings goals is proven to help people stick with money resolutions.
Choose one habit at a time to change. For example, if you need to reduce your credit card spending, focus on making that change as your first milestone. Then move on to setting money aside for payoff.
Ready to Make Money Resolutions That Stick?
The New Year is your opportunity for success. Our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness offer free financial counseling and education. Their caring counselors are ready to work with you for options to get out of debt and improve financial wellness.
This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.
New Year’s resolutions are a mixed bag for many of us. On the one hand: personal betterment! On the other hand: methodical auditing of our refrigerator, checking account, and various vices. On the cusp of a fresh calendar year, we feel compelled to immediately transform our lives, but—as is the case with most good things—change takes time. This is especially true when it comes to financial goals. And in the aftermath of steep holiday spending, our goalposts can feel...far away.
Enroll In A 401(k).
Check Your Credit Report.
You can get a free report once a year from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.) This allows you to resolve errors or instances of identity theft—red flags you do not want creditors looking at when they are evaluating your application for loans and credit cards. With the exception of Experian, you will have to pay a fee if you want to see your credit score. There is often a way around this, as more than 170 financial institutions and 10 of the top credit card issuers provide free access to your FICO score (the most commonly used type of credit score).
How to Get Your Free Credit Report.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act) entitles you to receive a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The three companies have set up one central website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address. You can request your free report either online, by phone or even mail by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228.
Debt can be a challenge to manage, even in the best of times. Now, with the economy in the news nearly every day, how do you effectively manage your debt as the cost of borrowing for things like homes, cars,
and credit cards rises? People are successful when they set a realistic budget for spending. Focusing on non-traditional gifts, the joy of experiences and the resulting memories, can be just as rewarding without damaging your finances, especially as prices on essentials are rising.
Here are five general questions to ask in order to minimize the hit to your wallet in the face of rising interest rates.
What's Your Current Credit Score And History?
What Is Your Debt Portfolio?
What Are Your Current Interest Rates?
What Is A Realistic Payment Plan?
What Is Your Overall Financial Plan?
This information brought to you by GreenPath Financial Wellness.