2017 already looking to be a year full of unknowns, you should take a break and think about changes for next year in a New Year's resolution. But this time, you should have a plan to actually stick to.
We all take some time at the end of the year to reflect. As you consider 2016, you can certainly agree that the year had plenty of memorable moments, such as the presidential election, market volatility, as well as a long list of tragic world events.
We all like the idea of making a New Year's resolution…it’s based on our desire to improve. Good intentions go a long way, but we’ve all fought through the jammed gym in January, only to hear crickets while you exercise in March. Instead of biting off more than you can chew—so to speak—find one thing and make that your focus for all of 2017.
While a recent survey found that 40% of respondents put exercise and diet at the top of their resolution lists for 2017, right behind at 37%, was getting a better handle on money and saving more. Regardless of your age, here are simple and obtainable financial resolutions to think about for every generation.
Millennials: Try living on a cash basis for one month. This can be a real eye-opening experience and make you more aware of new debt. In addition, you can see the true cost of living expenses, which can help you to use better budgeting habits.
Generation X: Protect your family and yourself. Many of these folks are now parents and are also focusing on careers. They’re reaching their maximum earning potential. A great resolution for Gen Xers is to purchase life insurance and/or disability insurance, in the event something were to happen to you or your spouse. You should also be sure that your 401(k) is being maxed out to leverage the full employer match. Look into developing a financial plan and examine tax planning to maximize savings.
Baby Boomers: Review your estate plans. Make sure that your estate plan is up-to-date and, at the same time, review all beneficiaries on life insurance policies, IRAs and other plans.
You should also plan for many years ahead, since Americans are living longer. It means a longer retirement for boomers, maybe 20 years or more. Be sure your budget is on track and that investments are keeping pace with cost of living increases.
You can certainly think of numerous other potential financial resolutions that can be made for the New Year. But whatever generational group you’re in, a simple resolution to save even a small amount can make a big difference.
Reference: US News (December 20, 2016) “A Simple Resolution for the New Year”