Work on your New Year's resolutions with a Financial Coach

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Financial new year's resolutions that stick

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The start of a new year is traditionally a time for reflection. Many of us think about what we would like to change about our lives during this time of year, which can often mean changing the way we spend and earn money. Many of us make New Year's resolutions but face difficulty keeping up with our goals by the time February rolls around. That’s why it’s important to set attainable goals so you don’t feel like you’re running up a never-ending hill. Use these financial New Year’s resolutions to set yourself up for success in 2023 and beyond.

Work on your New Year's resolutions with a Financial Coach

Learn more

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Yellow notepad with pen svg icon Lesson notes:
  • Use this opportunity to reflect on your spending and how it affects your ability to reach your financial goals.
  • Focus on paying off high-interest debts, saving for important financial milestones and improving your credit score.
  • Calculate how much you need to save each month and how you plan to do it to make your resolutions stick.

Best New Year financial resolutions

Save more for your long-term goals

One of the best things you can do for your finances in the new year is to save more for those big-ticket items you’ve had your eye on, whether it’s saving for a down payment for a car or mortgage, going back to school or retirement planning.

If you had a raise in the last year, the amount you put into savings each month should increase as well. Calculate how long it will take you to reach your financial goals based on how much you’re currently saving every month.

When calculating long-term savings goals, it can be helpful to pay attention to inflation and cost increases. The cost of a home or car may have increased in the last year, so adjust your goals as needed.

Create an emergency fund

If you don’t have an emergency fund, now’s the time to start one. You can use this money to pay for essentials if you lose your job or incur unexpected expenses. Most experts recommend having between three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved in case of an emergency. This may vary depending on factors like what kind of job you have, if you have variable expenses and if there are other incomes in your household.

Calculate how much money you will need to make ends meet per month if you lose your job or are injured outside of work. Include your living expenses (rent/mortgage payments, utilities and food), debt payments and other essentials like insurance payments.

Remember that prices have increased in the last year or your expenses may have changed, so consider adding more money to your emergency fund if you already have a safety net in place.

Pay off high-interest debt

Carrying high-interest debt makes it hard to become debt free. The interest you pay on the loan doesn’t get subtracted from the principal amount. Only making minimum payments means you will be paying more in interest over the life of the loan, and it may take longer to pay off the debt, especially if you’re continuing to spend on the credit card or loan.

Credit cards tend to have the highest interest rates than other loans, usually at 10% or more. Check the annual percentage rate (APR) on all your outstanding debts and focus on paying off the ones with the highest rates to help you save money in the long run.

Make sure to pay the minimum amount owed on all your other debts and contribute as much money as possible to the debt with the highest interest rate until it is paid off in full. Do the same for the loan with the next highest interest rate and repeat the process until all your debts have been repaid.

If your credit score and debt-to-income ratio have improved since you first applied for the loan, consider refinancing with a financial institution if you can get a lower interest rate. Be mindful that there may be other costs associated with refinancing, so make sure it makes financial sense for you to do so.

You can also consolidate your high-interest debt with a personal loan. Speaking with a lending professional can help you see if these options will ultimately save you money.

Improve your credit score

If you’re wondering why your credit score is important, your credit score not only has a major effect on your ability to borrow money but may also affect how much you pay for other services such as utilities. It is based on several factors, including payment history, your overall credit utilization, the different types of debt you have and the length of your credit history.

Check your credit score often to see how your spending affects your score. Many financial institutions and credit card companies let you check your credit score for free. You are also entitled to one free copy of your annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Pay your debts by or before the due date every month. Work on reducing the total amount you owe by avoiding new debt and paying off the ones you have. Try to keep your overall credit utilization below 30% to increase your credit over time.

Set up identity theft protection

A hacker or thief can use your bank information or social security number to open an account in your name, which will hurt your credit score and can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating to fix.

Set up additional protections on all your digital devices to prevent criminals from accessing your personal information. Use multi-factor authentication when logging into websites that contain this data, and sign up for free credit report monitoring services that will alert you in the event of possible fraud.

Practice good digital hygiene when responding to messages and emails online. Avoid sharing your information with companies and individuals unless absolutely necessary.

Make this your year to catch up on outstanding debts and save more for the goals that matter most to you and your loved ones. Come up with specific goals for how much you plan to save every month to turn these New Year’s financial resolutions into lasting habits.

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