This is an article from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a non-profit dedicated to improving the financial literacy of all Americans. NEFE operates the site Smart About Money. Follow NEFE on Twitter at @nefe_org
The new year is coming, and with it come the resolutions. Here are a few resolutions that you might consider taking up this year.
- Control spending: If you spend less you’ll have more money available to pay down debt and save for the future. Write down your expenses for a month to see where your money is going. You might be surprised by how easy it is to find places to scale back. Check your credit report and close any accounts you don’t need.
- Create a debt repayment plan: If you carry credit card debt, write down everything you owe and make a plan to pay it off. Start with small items you can act on right away–it will make tackling the bigger debt easier. Also, try buying with cash only. It’s a sure-fire way to prevent increases in your credit card debt. (One debt repayment plan: The Debt Snowball)
- Set up auto-savings plans: Arrange with your bank or another financial institution to have an automatic savings plan set up. Set it up to deduct a set amount from your checking account to a savings account each pay period. Of the Americans who have been able to contribute to emergency savings funds, automatic withdrawal is the most popular method, according to the Consumer Federation of America.
- Boost retirement savings: If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, increase your contributions. If you don’t have an employer plan, open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and arrange for contributions to be made automatically from your checking or savings account.
- Create a long-term plan: Write a list of your long-term goals, such as buying a home or saving for college or retirement. Visit the Life Events section of Smart About Money for concrete tips on accomplishing those goals.
- Protect Yourself: Be prepared for the unexpected by making sure you, your family, your assets and investments are insured and fully covered. If you do not have a will, make 2010 the year you establish a life plan.
- Find a financial buddy: Share your financial resolutions with a friend, colleague, or family member, and you’ll be more likely to keep them. Find someone else who wants to turn around their debt or cut their spending, and establish a mutual support and accountability system.
Do you have any financial resolutions of your own that you’re making this year? Share them with us in the comments below!
All great ideas–I just never liked the fact of tying anything to the New Year. It makes it easier to give up in my opinion, and it puts unnecessary pressure on you to maintain it.
If you have a goal you want to achieve, put it in place the moment you think of it.
David/Yourfinances101´s last post ..Looking Back, Looking Ahead—With No Goals Whatsoever
Evolution Of Wealth says
I’d like to see more people do #7. I find that too many people keep their finances to themselves. It still seems a bit taboo to talk about money. The problem with this is that the only people talking about money are the people funded by the financial institutions. Could you imagine if they were biased slightly by their advertisers? That could never happen right? If we as a society were more open to talking about money you might just find a lot more well educated people that weren’t drinking so much cool aid.
Evolution Of Wealth´s last post ..Sunday Link Rodeo 14
Great! Now is the time to think about 2010, and what better way to improve next year than by improving our finances? Thank you!
George´s last post ..Weekly Wisdom: Best Personal Finance and Personal Growth Posts Of 2009
I would like to increase money coming in so I can increase my savings in retirement, investing, and travel. If I can start an emergency fund as well I would be real happy.
Wojciech Kulicki says
Most people I know are with David, avoiding the New Year as a time to make resolutions because, as they say, “you should be setting goals all year.” If that works for you, awesome!
I subscribe to some of that philosophy myself, but when it comes to the OVERALL mission–the really big stuff, I love New Year’s.
Personally, I find the time between mid-December and early January extremely good for goal-setting because there’s a lot of time off and ability to relax and reflect. It also comes once a year…a good, solid pace to review your overall goals. So for me, it works very well.
I don’t call it a “resolution,” or even a “goal.” It’s just the time I set aside when I know I’ll be thinking about my goals for the coming year and reflecting on years past.
Wojciech Kulicki´s last post ..Television Makes You Spend More? (Consciously Frugal)
I like the idea of a financial buddy, good stuff.
FinanceDad´s last post ..Persuading family members to buy bonds or investments for gifts for your kids
This year my financial resolutions are to 1) fully fund an emergency fund and 2) stop eating out as much
Hank´s last post ..83 Money Moves To Make Before You Are 30 Years Old
Without being specific (still working that out) 2 goals I have are to
1)make more money and 2) have less debt than I do now.