6 Easy Financial Resolutions for 2020
January 21, 2020 by Hunter Swanson
It’s a new year – a new decade – and you are determined to make this trip around the sun better than the last. You’re going to put that gym membership to better use, call friends and family more often, maybe save up for that vacation you’ve been dreaming of. You’ve made your Near Year Resolutions.
Unfortunately, according to U.S. News, about 80% of resolutions fail by mid-February. Why? We tend to bite off more than we can chew. Instead of slowing down and enjoying the meal, we spit it out and throw it in the trash.So here’s a list of 6 Easy Financial Resolutions for you to improve your financial standings in a simple and sustainable way.
1. Build a Better Budget
We tend to avoid taking a close look at where we spend our money. That’s why we’re often shocked when we see how much is really spent on extraneous things. In order to build a better budget, the first thing we need to do is track our spending. Start by looking at bank and credit card statements for at least 3 months and record expenses.
With an idea of where our money is going, the next step is to make a spending plan. Like a diet, a budget is only as good as how well we stick to it. See what matters, what goals should be focused on, and make a budget based on those values.
2. Pay Down Debt
According to CreditCards.com, American’s revolving debt is over $1 trillion and the average amount of credit card debt per U.S. adult with a credit card is $5,763. If you can pay off your debt in one fell swoop, great. If not, consider payoff methods like paying off your highest debt first (debt avalanche method) or paying off your smallest amount of debt first (debt snowball method).
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t pay off everything in 2020. Paying down debt is a journey and your wallet will be happier every step of the way.
3. Build Emergency Funds
Life happens, and we need to be ready when it does. A healthy emergency fun can cover all necessary expenses for at least 3-6 months. Consider setting up automatic transfers to a savings account, either from a paycheck or checking account. With this strategy, the money is “out of sight, out of mind,” reducing the temptation to spend it.
We don’t need to put our lives on hold to build that emergency fund immediately. We can start small and chip away at it, adding to the emergency fund throughout 2020.
4. Save for Retirement
We’ve all heard the old adage: It’s never too soon to save for retirement. Take it to heart. No one wants to work for the rest of their lives, so there’s no time like the present to save.
Start with your 401(k) from work. Contribute to your plan. These contributions are conveniently deducted from your paycheck and have the tax benefits of tax-deferred (pre-tax) or tax-free (Roth) growth.
Max the match in your employer's retirement plan. If you're fortunate enough to have an employer that matches your contributions, try to contribute at least enough to get that full match.
5. Improve Credit Score
Our credit scores play a critical role in determining whether we get access to financing and other necessary financial services. It can also influence car insurance rates in some states, as well as how much we pay in interest when we get a loan.
Simple steps make a big difference when trying to improve our credit scores. On-time payments, reducing debt, and being careful with how often we apply for credit can all help.
6. Take Care of You!
We may be surprised to find out that by taking care of ourselves physically, it affects us financially. The American Psychological Association says money is our biggest source of stress and that people who get regular exercise tend to have better credit scores. Treat yourself and those you love. Once the needs are taken care of, enjoy the wants responsibly.
Remember that these goals are designed to help you live your life better. There’s more to life than money, so enjoy it!