It's that time of year. Last Wednesday marked the deadline to make a promise to yourself to start doing something good, or stop doing something bad. New Year's Resolutions have been made for many years, some of the most popular are shedding the holiday pounds, quitting smoking, or saving more money. According to the Fidelity 2014 New Year Financial Resolutions Study, over 50% of Americans say that they are considering resolutions regarding their finances. The leading financial resolution is saving more, followed by paying off debt, and spending less money. Unfortunately, not all resolutions last the complete 52 weeks. In order to give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals, make them achievable, get support, and review your progress regularly.
Think of your resolution in a positive light. If you are saving more, make a list of what it will allow you to do in retirement instead of focusing on what you have to give up now. Once you have decided on your goal, consider breaking it down into smaller chunks. For example, if you want to make the maximum contribution to your IRA ($5,500 annually), break it down to saving $105 per week.
Create your resolution with your spouse or significant other. According to the Fidelity study, less than 30% of individuals will include their spouse or partner in their New Year goal. Regularly sit down to discuss your progress throughout the year and support each other in the pursuit of your goals. Mark a time on your calendar to monitor your progress and focus on the positive reasons for setting the goal in the first place; do not criticize each other for any setbacks. You can never change the past, but you always control what you do next.
No matter what your resolution is, financial or not, write down your goals, monitor your progress and understand that setbacks will happen. Henry Ford once said, "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
Wishing you the best of luck with your New Year's Resolution!
Ethan Wade, Financial Advisor
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).