54% Make This 2014 New Year's Resolution
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) About 54% of Americans say they're considering setting New Year's resolutions regarding their finances. That's up 35% since 2009, according to a new study.
Fidelity's 2014 New Year Financial Resolutions study found that 62% stick with their resolutions, up from 58% in 2010.
The top three resolutions among those considering a financial resolution for 2014 are saving more money, paying off debt and spending less.
"Many people say that bills prevent them from saving," said Robert Lindquist, professor with Ashford University and author of Financial Independence for a New Generation (Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2013). "The trick is not focusing on the amount of savings but the process. Because it takes discipline to save money, the key is semi-enforced saving, which involves paying yourself first and using leftovers for bills and other needs."
For the first time, paying off debt jumped to second place with 24% compared to 54% who chose saving more money in first place. Of those making financial resolutions with their spouse, partner or significant other, 31% feel they are better at keeping financial resolutions than their significant other.
"Often times couples have different goals and haven't talked openly enough about money and what they want it to accomplish for them," said Joe Duran, CEO of United Capital. "Identify the financial goals that are most important to you and have your partner do the same. Then see if you can agree on which one matters most to you as a couple."
While making goals to boost finances is important, it is even more vital to set objectives that are attainable and realistic. For example, check this year's tax refund amount.
"Was it large? If so, then you're giving Uncle Sam a free loan," said Kimberly Foss, financial advisor with Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif. "Adjust your withholdings to free up cash to pay down debt or invest elsewhere."
Getting clear also assures financial advancement.
A full 13% said they would develop a long term goal plan, and 12% said their New Year's financial resolution is to stick to a budget.
"Write down the steps you will take to make progress on your number one priority. Make them specific, assign responsibility and schedule check-in dates," Duran told MainStreet. "Aligning values with actions is the surefire way to feel good about your financial life."
For those Americans not considering a financial resolution for 2014, 26% cited low confidence in the market.
"Many are intimidated by the term investment and unsure about the steps for securing a profitable future," Lindquist said. "Although an average person may not want to play the stock market, they can invest in their future with basic investment plans, such as an IRA or a 401(k) plan."