Less than half of New Yearâ€™s Resolutions last more than six months, even though most of them are designed to be longer-term improvements. Financial resolutions may fare even worse since it seems like thereâ€™s always some bill waiting to be paid, some upcharge thatâ€™s impossible to avoid, or some unexpected expense. But that doesnâ€™t mean theyâ€™re not worth setting – or that theyâ€™re impossible to keep.
Unlike some financial advice thatâ€™s specific only to certain age groups, income levels or life stages, these small financial resolutions are attainable, impactful and nearly universal:
Download an Automated Savings App
Apps like Acorns and Digit, pull small sums of money from your checking account on a regular basis and save them electronically. You probably arenâ€™t going to get you rich this way, but you get in the habit of saving if you arenâ€™t already. And itâ€™s a great way to start an emergency fund
If You Get a Raise, Put It All Away
â€œLifestyle creepâ€ sneaks up on the best of us. The more money you make, the more money you spend â€¦ but it doesnâ€™t have to be that way. If you get a raise in 2018, even for cost of living, donâ€™t let it hit your paycheck. Youâ€™re surviving without the extra now, so you wonâ€™t miss it. Funnel it directly into a retirement or other savings account, where it will make more of an impact than it would in your checking account.
Update Your Life Insurance Coverage
This isnâ€™t a resolution that will put more money in your pocket this year â€¦ we hope. But having adequate coverage to ensure your loved ones are taken care of in the event of your passing is priceless. Connect with an agent about your assets, liabilities and goals for the future to determine which life insurance policy, in which amount, is right for you.
Check Your Credit Report
Everyone is entitled to check their own credit report and credit score annually, for free, but most people donâ€™t. You should, even if youâ€™re pretty sure everything is in good standing. Itâ€™s the only way to know whatâ€™s impacting your score and the best way to stay on top of potential errors and fraud.
Consider Your Job Prospects
When it comes to financial goals, most people tend to think of ways to save more of the money theyâ€™re already earning, but the most effective way to boost your financial health is actually by finding a way to bring in more income. Depending on your situation, you could get a second job, sell some possessions, monetize a hobby or start looking for the next step in your career.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Things
Along those same lines, the best way to avoid astronomical â€œfix-itâ€ costs for your home, your vehicle or your health is to maintain it properly before it fails. Sure, it may cost a bit of money or effort up front, but will help ward off expensive emergencies down the road. So get your HVAC system serviced, your tires rotated and make that preventative care appointment youâ€™ve been putting off.
To avoid being one of the more than 50 percent of people who have given up on their resolutions by July, make sure you set specific, measurable goals. â€œSave more moneyâ€ isnâ€™t specific, measurable or even likely to happen. But â€œapply to two jobs a weekâ€ and â€œcall an agent about life insuranceâ€ are solid goals â€¦ and by 2019, both could have done far more to improve your financial standing.
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