After the holiday hustle bustle, the calm of January offers the promise of a new year and the time to make fresh starts. Currently, most consumers have saving more and owing less as their top resolutions.
According to a recent survey by Fidelity Investments, 84% of people would rather save money and reduce debt than commit to healthier lifestyles.
With a new year fast approaching, we compiled a list of 5 easy resolutions to help you reach your financial goals.
#1 – Check Your Credit Report
You are entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Go to annualcreditreport.com to request your free report. Check for errors or inconsistencies and dispute anything that looks incorrect. Reviewing your credit reports is a great way to assess your debts and take stock of your financial health as you begin the new year.
#2 – Understand Past Financial Mistakes
Financial mistakes are normal. Some miscues are small and easy to correct with lifestyle choices while others can take years to correct. Now is a great time to take an honest look at your financial health. Are you overspending? Dipping into savings? Not saving enough? In a financial survey by New York Life, the top three mistakes adults named as their biggest regrets were:
• Not saving soon enough for retirement
• Relying too much on credit cards
• Not setting aside adequate funds for an emergency
Learn from any mistakes you made in 2019 so you can avoid them going forward. Mistakes generally stem from not looking forward financially when you make day-to-day financial choices. Committing to living within your means and setting aside money for savings (retirement, emergency, etc.) will go a long way toward correcting troubled finances.
#3 – Eliminate One Bad Habit
Once you’ve reviewed your 2019 finances, identify one bad financial habit you’d like to address. Focusing on one behavior can increase your chance of successfully changing it. Maybe you eat out too often, ignore your bills and finances or shop when you feel bored or anxious. Take the time to understand why you struggle with a behavior and consider different coping mechanisms or alternative behaviors. Employing the help and support of family or friends can help you correct a bad habit.
#4 – Simplify Good Habits
Automate, automate, automate. Regardless of your financial goals, (eliminating debt, saving for retirement, building an emergency fund), automating payments through your payroll office or bank will make your success easier.
Putting good habits on autopilot means you don’t have to reconsider them annually and they don’t get lost in the shuffle of our busy lives.
#5 – Take A Break From Spending
Commit one day (or weekend) each month to not spending any money. Winter is a great time for this. Stay in and enjoy a home-cooked meal with a good book or movie. Use any of these apps to get creative with the food in your pantry and grab a friend or family member to be your partner in finding free entertainment. Continue your no-spend days throughout the entire year for the greatest benefit. You may find the days so rewarding and fun that you decide to add more each month and potentially create a lifelong habit!
Use the momentum of the new year combined with year-end financial resources such as annual bank statements and 12-month credit summaries to achieve some (or all!) of these resolutions. Each of these highly-achievable goals will help you work to achieve the financial results you desire. Make 2020 the beginning of your new financial future!
Call To Action
Do you think my tips were helpful in re-directing your focus and goals? Please share the article and shout out to me on Twitter!
You can also check out my firm, LexION Capital, for more tips on how to grow your wealth and become financially secure.
Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City, serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the chief investment officer and founder of LexION Alpha.
This article was originally published on Medium.