If you’re like many people, you made financial New Year’s resolutions — save more, spend less, pay down debt.
How’s that working out for you?
While some forgot their promises as soon as the Champagne was finished, maybe you’re off to a good start. If you don’t want to fall off the wagon in short order, here’s how to make your commitment stick.
- Keep written goals visible
“People who review their goals regularly are more likely to feel motivated to stick to their plans. Keep them accessible so you can review them any time and be reminded of what you are trying to accomplish. This can deter you from making bad choices that derail your plan. You can use everything from a Post-it note to a detailed spreadsheet with multiple tabs. Pick what suits you,” says Kaya Ladejobi, a certified financial planner with Earn Into Wealth Strategies in Manhattan.
- Be realistic
“Don’t overpromise. Resolutions should be doable and measurable. Take baby steps, actions that allow you to see success and that you’re getting somewhere,” says Al Zdenek, founder of Traust Sollus Wealth Management in Manhattan. The more specific your goals, the better.
- Don’t go it alone
“Find someone to hold yourself accountable to with quarterly check-ins, whether it’s a financial adviser, spouse or close friend,” says Jeffrey Feinstein, a financial planner with Lenox Advisors in Manhattan. Put systems in place to make it easier. For example, to save more, set up automatic deposits.
- Set rewards and penalties
Incentives motivate. “Reward yourself for doing well and penalize yourself when you don’t. Think of it as the carrot and the stick,” says Steve Repak, author of “6 Week Money Challenge: For Your Personal Finances.”