Make Improving Your Personal Finances a 2020 Resolution
The new year is a great time for all kinds of personal improvement.
“Each new year, many of us pledge to improve our health, reduce stress, travel more or even learn a new skill,” said Mike Losneck, CEO of Eaton Family Credit Union. “A significant portion of Ohioans – like many Americans – also resolve to better their finances.”
A survey of 2,011 Americans conducted in November by Ipsos for Urban Plates found 38% intended to make a New Year’s resolution for 2020. Of those respondents, 51% noted their goals would be financial related.
Losneck said these financial targets often include saving more money, paying down debt, improving credit scores and staying on a budget. Others start taking steps to be financially prepared for retirement or a big life event such as getting married, buying a house or welcoming a baby.
According to a YouGov online survey of 1,174 US adults conducted in December, millennials were the most likely (39%) to say they planned to make resolutions and 55% of them said the most common resolution was to save money.
Though New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep, the YouGov online survey showed most Americans are confident they’ll be able to stick to their goals. Over three quarters of the respondents who intended to make 2020 resolutions were “very” or “somewhat” confident they would keep them.
“Whatever your specific goal or motivation is, there are many resources available to help you improve your spending and saving habits year-round,” Losneck said.
Losneck explained credit unions exist to improve their members’ lives and can be a great partner to help you reach your financial goals. He added membership in Eaton Family Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, goes to church or attends school in Cuyahoga and Lake County, Ohio.
Tips For Improving Your Finances in 2020
There are numerous financial management tools and resources available to consumers to help make the goal of improving finances an achievable undertaking. If your goal is to improve your finances in 2020, consider these money management and resolution tips from U.S. News & World Report.
- Identify your financial goals – Whether you’re planning to buy a home, contribute more to your retirement savings or start an emergency fund, take the time to document your specific financial goals for the year and attach a timeline to each so you can feel accomplished with each milestone.
- 2. Track your budget. Routinely track your monthly spending so you can see where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut frivolities and reallocate those funds to meet your goals.
- Check your credit report. Request a free credit report on annualcreditreport.com to understand your credit situation and ensure the report’s accuracy. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- Commit to no-spend days. Designate one "no-spend weekend" or "no-spend day" per month. Make this a time when no money leaves your hands or accounts (i.e. eat at home, skip shopping sprees and engage in free entertainment).
- Boost retirement contributions. Commit to boosting your 401(k) contributions. At the least, contribute enough to your workplace plan to secure your employer's match, which is typically between 3% and 6%, if one is offered.
- Fast-track debt payoff goals. This could mean contributing an extra $50 per month to your debt bill or deploying the avalanche payoff strategy, which focuses on putting any extra payments toward the highest rate loan first.
- Automate good habits. Whether you want to save more for retirement or repay debt, automate those monthly debits with your payroll office or your credit union.
- Rebalance your investment portfolio. Market volatility, new money goals, financial hurdles and other unanticipated changes can impact how you should balance your investment portfolios. Keep an eye toward your long-term and short-term goals and make sure you're viewing the market with clear eyes – not a fear-based mentality.
- Call your credit card company. If your credit card account is in good standing, take this time to negotiate a credit limit increase with your card issuer to help improve your credit score or make the case for a lower annual percentage rate (APR).
- 10. Fund your health savings account. Savers in eligible high-deductible insurance plans should consider contributing to their Health Savings Account (HSA) as a tax-savvy way to save for future medical expenses.
Dave Godek, MBA
Business Development Manager
Eaton Family Credit Union