FINANCIAL FOCUS: Financial resolutions for the new year

Joe Faulk

Joe Faulk

Published: Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 06:16 PM.

About 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, according to a survey from the University of Scranton.

But the same survey shows that only 8 percent of us actually keep our resolutions.

Perhaps this low success rate isn’t such a tragedy when our resolutions involve things like losing a little weight or learning a foreign language. But when we make financial resolutions — resolutions that, if achieved, could significantly help us in our pursuit of our important long-term goals — it’s clearly worthwhile to make every effort to follow through.

So, what sorts of financial resolutions might you consider? Here are a few possibilities:

•Boost your contributions to your retirement plans. Each year, try to put in a little more to your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plans. These tax-advantaged accounts are good options for your retirement savings strategy.

•Reduce your debts. It’s not always easy to reduce your debts, but make it a goal to finish 2014 with a smaller debt load than you had going into the new year. The lower your monthly debt payments, the more money you’ll have to invest for retirement, college for your children (or grandchildren) and other important objectives.

•Build your emergency fund. Work on building an “emergency fund” containing six to 12 months’ worth of living expenses, with the money held in a liquid account that offers a high degree of preservation of principal.



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