Do you have a financial resolution for the New Year? A third of people don’t have money goals set for 2017, according to a recent Student Loan Hero survey.
If you’re one of the 33 percent of people who don’t have a financial New Year’s resolution, it might be time to rethink it.
Setting and working toward money goals is an important method to improve your finances. Goal-setting motivates you to make changes that will make your finances healthier and you wealthier.
If you have yet to decide on a financial New Year’s resolution, here are some reasons to make that move.
Working on money goals prevents financial regrets
Two-thirds of respondents to the Student Loan Hero survey indicated that they had a money regret for 2016. Most wished they had either saved more money or paid off more debt.
But money goals like these require consistent effort to achieve. When you set financial resolutions, you’re more likely to work on your finances and make improvements.
It’s a proactive money move that can help you capitalize on financial opportunities, as well as avoid major money mistakes. With your money goals in mind, you can manage your finances more wisely in 2017 and, hopefully, have fewer financial regrets.
Chances are good you’ll stick to a financial resolution
Maybe you think you’re not a resolutions person. You never stick to a resolution for longer than a few months, so why even try this year?
Setting and working on goals is a skill. The first time you try it, it probably won’t be a raging success. But the more you set and work on money goals, the better you’ll get at it.
Additionally, a Fidelity Investments survey shows that a majority of goal-setters stick with their financial resolutions throughout the year.
Six in 10 said they were still working on their money-related resolution when surveyed in October. Half of those still working on their goals had achieved 80 percent or more of their financial goal.
New Year financial resolutions get results
Many people who don’t set resolutions avoid it because they’re afraid of failure. They feel that if they don’t achieve their final (and often unrealistic) resolution, the whole endeavor was a waste.
But simply setting money goals and trying to achieve them can improve your financial management.
Among financial resolvers, half said they had less debt and were in a better financial situation than when they started, regardless of their progress, according to the Fidelity survey. In contrast, only about a third of non-resolvers said they had less debt or had improved their finances.
If you set a resolution, don’t view it as goal-achievement-or-bust. If you set money goals to work toward all year long, any progress that you make is a step in the right direction.
Money goals help you conquer financial fears
Does thinking about your finances make your palms sweaty or fill you with dread? If you feel overwhelmed and helpless about your financial situation, money goals can help you dig your way out.
A financial resolution can empower you to make and follow a road map to financial success. Working on money goals is one of the best antidotes to financial fears. Even just the simple act of choosing a financial resolution signals to yourself that you believe a change is possible.
The key is setting money goals you believe you can achieve. You have 12 months to accomplish your resolution — try breaking your goal down into bite-size pieces until it feels manageable.
Breaking big goals into smaller, easier-to-achieve tasks is a tactic that resolution-setters found to be helpful, according to the Fidelity survey. To stay motivated, remind yourself why you’re doing this and take time to celebrate your progress.
Improving your finances makes the future brighter
As 2016 comes to a close, the common consensus is that it was a bit of a disaster. Everyone could use a few reasons to believe that 2017 will be better.
And New Year financial resolutions can help you be more optimistic about your future. About half of money goal-setters (52 percent) feel strongly that they will be better off financially in 2017, according to Fidelity’s survey.
Hope for a better financial future is tied to certain money habits. Two-thirds of Americans who feel hopeful for their financial future attribute their attitude to saving more money. Other actions that make people feel financially hopeful include setting a budget and paying off debts.
No matter what money goals you choose to focus on, you can make 2017 your best year yet.
Need help getting started? Use these 31 simple ideas to jumpstart your financial makeover.
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