Tempted to make the same old resolution you’ve (probably) never kept before? Something like hitting the gym or eating a healthier diet? Why not try for a resolution that might be a bit easier keep and will have you feeling proud of yourself at the end of the year?
Make a money-based resolution that will both improve your financial life in the short-term and set you up for long-term personal financial success. Below are the best financial resolutions to make (and keep), especially if you’re in your 20s or 30s. We’ve even thrown in some effective plans to help you follow through.
Financial New Years Resolutions
Pick at least one of these resolutions, and you’ll be on the right track. Want to be a real go-getter? Go for three or – what the heck? – all five!
STOP SPENDING RECKLESSLY
Make a vow to yourself not to spend everything that’s left after you’ve paid your monthly bills. Instead, save [some of] what is left after paying your bills and spending on necessities. Help that process along by declaring and sticking to a proper budget for your household.
FIND A FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL YOU TRUST
Especially if you’ve started your career and have your eye on bigger expenses like owning a home and saving for retirement, it might be time to get professional help.
The best advice? Keep that process simple, and aim for a financial advisor who keeps you accountable for your financial and lifetime goals, and who will help you prepare unique strategies for you to manage your finances.
COMMIT TO PAYING BILLS ON TIME
Set up a “reminder’s” system to pay each of your regular bills ahead of their due dates, advises Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix Operations with Freedom Financial Network, in Phoenix, Ariz. “Open all mail (including bills) upon receipt, deposit all checks and cash immediately, and set up a system for payment that works for you,” Gallegos advises. “This might include automatic online payments, a spreadsheet, a reminder on your cell phone, or a even a list on the refrigerator.”
ALWAYS PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM TOWARD YOUR BILLS
“The first and best rule is to never charge more in any given month than you can repay that month,” Gallegos says. “If, however, you already have debt, pay more than the minimum payment on each bill, especially credit card bills. Even adding just $10 to your payment – or rounding payments up to the next $10 or $100 increment – will make a huge difference.
PUT ENOUGH INTO RETIREMENT TO GET YOUR FULL EMPLOYER MATCH
If you don’t invest enough to get your employer match you are essentially turning down a raise, counsels Robert Johnson, chief executive officer at The American College of Financial Services, in Bryn Mawr, Pa. “Failing to invest enough to meet the company match means you are leaving money on the table,” he further explains. Consider setting up automatic deposits from each paycheck in an amount you can afford.
Getting a good grip on your finances in January can pay great dividends all year long. Start your financial New Year’s Resolutions with the tips listed above and come next New Year’s Eve, you’ll likely be in much better financial shape.