Happy New Year! This is the time of New Year’s Eve parties, watching the ball drop, buying new 2012 wall calendars and of course New Year Resolutions. One of the most common resolutions to make is to go to the gym regularly. Of course most of us know how long that resolution lasts: about two weeks.
Since every year I write about Financial Resolutions that people should think about making, this year I thought I would change things up a bit and rather giving you ideas for financial resolutions, focus more on how to keep those resolutions.
Here are my tips for raising your chances of keeping your 2012 financial resolutions:
1.Be Realistic. Many people make resolutions to get out of debt, but if you look at their discretionary income/debt it may not be realistic to do it in one year. You don’t want to set yourself up to fail from the beginning so make your financial resolution reasonable and build on that.
- Stick to it. It takes 3 or 4 weeks of doing something to become a habit, so do what you can to stick with your resolution until that time. If you can get through the first month, it will be a lot easier to continue throughout the year.
- Write it down and let people know. Put pressure to keep yourself accountable by writing it down and letting as many people know as you can. Put it on your personal blog, tweet it, put it on your facebook status, or email it to some of your friends. I use my facebook status to keep me accountable for my workout program and it really helps keep me inline when I want to skip a day.
- Outline your plan. If your resolution is to save more money this year, you need to do more than say it to have it happen. Outline a strategy to achieve your plan. So if your financial resolution is to save more, a plan to execute it could be to set up a spreadsheet to analyze your spending and then create a budget.
- Track your progress. Set up an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your progress. While your resolution is for the whole year it helps to monitor where you are throughout the year. There are some great applications for your IPhone, Android or Blackberry that help you keep whatever your resolution is.
- Reward yourself. Break your financial resolution goal into smaller increments. When you hit each increment reward yourself for a job well done. If your resolution was to keep better track of your financial documents and receipts throughout the year, after doing well for a few months then reward yourself with a night out with friends.
To practice what I preach, here are my personal 2012 financial resolutions: 1. Reduce those costs that I am unnecessarily paying but have been too lazy to address. 2. Get my spending and budget onto Excel. 3. Refinance my mortgage.
Good luck with your Financial Resolutions and if it helps, shoot me an email with your resolutions to keep you accountable. Happy New Year!
If you have a topic that you would like me to discuss in a future article please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, Michael Tow is President of New Boston Financial. He is a registered representative of, and offers securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network- a member firm of FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser. He is located at 58 Harvard Street in Brookline and can be reached at 617-734-4400 or www.newbostonfinancial.com