New Year’s Resolutions: Money Edition

Less than half of New Year’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 there’s always some bill waiting to be paid, some upcharge that’s impossible to avoid, or some unexpected expense. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth setting – or that they’re impossible to keep.

Unlike some financial advice that’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 aren’t going to get you rich this way, but you get in the habit of saving if you aren’t already. And it’s a great way to start an emergency fund

If You Get a Raise, Put It All Away

“Lifestyle creep” sneaks up on the best of us. The more money you make, the more money you spend … but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you get a raise in 2018, even for cost of living, don’t let it hit your paycheck. You’re surviving without the extra now, so you won’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 isn’t a resolution that will put more money in your pocket this year … 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 don’t. You should, even if you’re pretty sure everything is in good standing. It’s the only way to know what’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 they’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 “fix-it” 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 you’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. “Save more money” isn’t specific, measurable or even likely to happen. But “apply to two jobs a week” and “call an agent about life insurance” are solid goals … and by 2019, both could have done far more to improve your financial standing.

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