A New Year's resolution to lose weight? That's so 2013! This year, financial resolutions are what's on the money.
According to the Fidelity 2014 Financial Resolutions Study, more Americans are making money-related resolutions this year than in any of the past five years, with an all-time high 54 percent planning to make changes to become financially savvier and more solvent. BringMeTheNews collected an assortment of top tips, suggestions and nuggets to strengthen your finances in 2014. We selected ideas that are simple and practical, since those changes have the best track record for success.
Harriet Edleson, personal finance columnist at US News and World Report, suggested a strategy for paying down debt. Her story said that consumers are carrying less credit card debt, with 63 percent of all credit card bills paid in full every month in 2013 compared to 55 percent in 2007. For those still carrying balances, she says to resolve to pay off one credit card in full during 2014. "Pay more than the minimum each month without creating a situation in which you will charge up other cards in the process," said David Jones, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.
WCCO talked to financial advisor Andrew Rolnick, who suggested increasing your 401k by 1 percent on the first of every year. "Over years of time, that habit every new year to kick it up a percentage makes a huge difference,” he said.
Writing in the Huffington Post, portfolio manager Andrew Wang advises simply opening your account statements from the bank, credit card, mortgage, 401(k), or brokerage account. Take a snapshot of your finances to set priorities and mark your calendar to review your finances quarterly -- that's just four times a year.
CNBC's personal finance reporter Sharon Epperson says allow just one minute a day to take care of a financial chore. She says in that amount of time, you can review your bank balances, pay a bill or two, even contact your bank, your credit card company or a lender for a quick check on an issue that may keep you up at night. She said that allocating one minute a day can help you stay in control of your finances by cutting up the big issues into bite-sized tasks.
MSN Money suggests that consumers use the start of the new year as a time to shake off the past and get rid of "money shame." Financial therapist Bari Tessler Linde says many people have trouble in their current financial lives because they're still dwelling on past money mistakes. "Most people need to understand their money story first," she says. Resolving to give up money worries can save you time and heartache. The story cites a survey of more than 1,000 people found that 36 percent spent at least two hours a day worrying about their finances or handling them.
Whatever changes you pick, the most important thing to resolve is to hang with it. Forbes Magazine notes that while two out of three of us make New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent of us keep them. The key to making a resolution stick is to change your mindset rather than changing your behavior.