New Year’s Financial Resolution

Financial Planning, Yeske Buie MillennialPosted on January 11th, 2017No Comments

Written By: Zach Bennedsen, CFP®

The New Year traditionally affords an opportunity to explore new habits like getting healthier, saving money, taking more time for yourself, learning a new skill, finding another job, and more. As you finalize your new year’s resolutions for 2019, we thought we’d share a few resources with ideas for implementing lasting changes in your financial life:

Don’t Look! (at the tickers)

The first resolution we encourage you to take on this year should be the simplest, as it actually requires no action! All you have to do is not look at what the stock market is doing. Day-to-day market activity can be both exciting and terrifying, especially when you listen to the talking heads on CNBC. However, when you’re just looking at daily snapshots, the tickers don’t have much of an effect on your personal financial well-being. So, if those numbers don’t affect you, don’t look at them! The brain power you expend getting riled up about short-term market activity is better applied elsewhere.

Pay Yourself First

If your current savings plans is “I save whatever is left at the end of the month,” this resolution is for you. Instead of spending first and saving later, create a systematic savings plan for 2017. By designating a certain amount for savings every month, or every paycheck, you will be much more likely to meet your savings goals. One of the best ways to create a “pay yourself first” plan is to establish an automatic payment straight from your paycheck to your investment account. The plus side of this is if you never see the money in your checking account, you are less likely to miss it!

Reward Yourself

Have you ever enthusiastically started a strict diet plan only to relapse into old habits after a short amount of time? Establishing new habits is hard, and it can be even harder if you are too strict with yourself. This phenomenon is not limited to health goals; it can happen in your financial life as well. To combat burnout, if you meet your savings goal for three months in a row, treat yourself to that new thing you’ve been ogling. We’re not preaching asceticism here, just healthy financial habits! And just like it’s ok to indulge in that piece of cake every once in a while if you’re meeting your health goals, you can likewise reward yourself for staying on track financially.

Think Personal

When you make a New Year’s resolution, it is personal in nature. No one’s resolution is for everyone in America to start going to the gym. Your financial resolutions should be personal as well. You can’t have a resolution for the S&P 500 to go up by 10%, but you can have a resolution to save 10% of your salary. Control what you can control, and don’t sweat the rest.

Think Long-Term

While we suggest you adopt these resolutions for 2017, these are habits you should maintain past the end of the year. If you set a weight-loss goal, you don’t go back to eating cheeseburgers for every meal as soon as the scale reads your target number. Just like dieting is really about setting new eating habits that you can stick with, these New Year’s financial goals are designed to be sustainable. Financial health is a long-term endeavor, and you will be rewarded over time for establishing good habits now.

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson