How to stick to your 2021 financial resolutionsMonday 4 January 2021 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Following through with your New Year resolutions can be a lot harder than making them. If you're looking to stick to your goals in 2021, here are six ways to help you stay focused.
Familiarize yourself with financial products
It’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of potential strategies, services, and financial products, and how they can help you with your money. Find out more about products by visiting sites like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Its “Consumer Resources” section offers guides on important financial decisions like planning for retirement and buying a house and provides answers to questions about credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and more.
Prioritize your goals
Chances are you won’t be able to whip your entire financial life in shape in one year. To prevent overreaching, make your resolutions manageable and realistic, and prioritize them. Select a few goals that can have a big impact on your finances, such as setting up an emergency fund, saving a reasonable amount of money for a large goal, such as buying a house, or opening up a retirement account and committing to investing money into it. A great goal to start with is paying off the lowest balance credit card. If you’re successful, you can always set another goal to pay the next highest card. This same methodology should be applied to other goals, like paying off school loans, saving for retirement, and more.
Create a clear financial plan
In order to achieve your goals, you need a way to implement them. For example, if you’re looking to save money you must know what the target amount should be, how much you can save toward that goal each month, where the money will come from, how you can save so you don’t spend it, how you might be able to invest the money you save and grow it, etc. Having a plan that addresses all these moving parts is an important step to ensuring you have a quality, financial goal and you can realize it. It’s also a great way to help you stick to the program. Once you’ve selected some goals for 2021, it’s time to make a plan. Start by:
- Deciding what action steps are needed to reach your goal
- Creating a schedule for your action steps
- Following through on each scheduled action step
Rework your budget
New goals mean you’ll need a new budget that takes them into account. Spend the time to see what money moves you need to make. Are there budget items that you can cut back on? What can you sacrifice each month to help you achieve your new goal? The trick is to make a good budget that ensures your 2021 goals are accounted for each month and fit in with your finances comfortably.
Share your goals
Having a hard time sticking to your resolutions? Ask a friend or family member to help keep you on your toes. Confiding in someone who’s invested in your goals and will help you stay on the right path can be a great motivator. Not comfortable discussing your big financial issues like debt with close friends and family? Try connecting with strangers who may be going through similar difficulties, or who share your financial goals. You can find personal finance groups to join online.
Automate your accounts
One of the ways to worry less about your resolve is to automate your finances. People who automate their savings save more than those who don’t, on average. One of the easiest ways to automate is to open an online savings account and have money automatically transferred to it each time you’re paid. You can also set up other automatic deductions, such as your 401(k) contributions or money for an emergency fund.