Each year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions related to improving their financial situation. They could involve saving more and spending less or just making better financial decisions. But year after year, statistics show that only a small percentage of people who make resolutions ever achieve them. If you made financial resolutions again this year, how are you doing so far? This pep talk from your money might get you to see your finances differently!
Hi (Your Name Here),
You may not think of me much, but I think about you all the time. You know that credit card bill that arrived last week with all the holiday gift charges? Yeah, that was my gift to you. Those doctor bills when your son broke his ankle playing football in September? I’ll bet those invoices just about gave you a heart attack! And what about last June, when we had that heatwave and your utility bill skyrocketed? Yup, you’ve got it - all me!
Last month, I saw you writing your New Year’s resolutions again. Every year you mention me, but then the year goes by and …you don’t call …you don’t write …that is, until I come up once more at resolution time. Well, this year, I have a resolution too! Instead of seeing me as the enemy, I would like you to see me as something positive – as a tool that can help you do big and wonderful things - like retire comfortably or take that trip with your family that I always hear you talking about. Maybe you could even collect enough of me to leave an inheritance!?
So, what do you say to a fresh start? Let’s get 2017 off on the right foot with a few suggestions for making our relationship healthier:
- First, let’s get organized. Face it, tax season is just around the corner, so you might as well start locating stuff and putting it into a place where people you trust have access. Here’s a blog that can get you started. Afraid you won’t have enough time to commit to an organizing project? You don’t have to do it all at once – just break down the tasks a month at a time. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.
- Next, let’s really get acquainted. I have a robust personality, so maybe it’s best to start with the basics. Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz (yes, those Schwabs!) has a great article that focuses on 10 ways to raise your financial IQ.
- Focus on your attitude. I know you tend to think of me at the worst times (like when the furnace went out last winter!), but I want to be associated with the best of times too! It’s all about your frame of mind. Here’s an article with some tips on how to think of me in a more positive way.
- Find an accountability coach. For many people, a competent, ethical financial adviser can fill that role. You want one who will work to serve your best interests, and one whose compensation is fee-only, because you don’t want your coach to be influenced by commissions and incentives from companies that want to sell you financial products. Here’s a guide to finding a fiduciary (one who places your interests first) adviser.
See? Financial resolutions don’t have to be so onerous. I’m here to help! You scratch my back, I scratch yours …it’s all good! I can’t wait to get to know you better this year, and I’m looking forward to our new relationship – one that’s based on positivity, education, accountability and trust.
Ahem. Is now a good time to mention your credit card bill for the January white sale?