Almost half of all Americans plan to make finance-related New Year's resolutions in 2024, according to a recent study from WalletHub. That's 36% more than planned to make resolutions in 2023. And the good news: more than half of those who make resolutions believe they'll keep them for a full year.
But not everyone expects to be able to keep up with those resolutions; roughly 40% of those surveyed say sticking to the plan this year will be harder than it was last year, and 25% think 2024 will be worse for their wallets than 2023.
So what do you do if you want to make positive changes in the year ahead, but are unsure as to how to proceed? Plan ahead and set clear financial resolutions for yourself this coming year, and you can improve your overall financial health.
With such a large number of Americans looking to make finance-related resolutions this year, we’ve asked several financial experts to share their top financial New Year’s resolutions for 2024, in order to help readers start the new year out on the right foot.
Here are 14 financial New Year's resolutions for 2024.
1. Check your credit report
"Just like you may regularly review your budget, make it a point to consistently check your credit report. Your credit score is a quick indicator of your credit health, but your credit report offers a more detailed look at your history. In your report, among other things, you can see information about your reported credit accounts, like your payment history and latest reported balance. If you notice your credit score went up or down, your credit report holds the answer as to why. It’s of course smart to check your credit report before making any major purchase, but regularly reviewing your report can also help you spot potential fraud. You don’t need to check every day —once a month should work for most people. You can get your credit report for free each week from annualcreditreport.com. Your credit is an important part of your finances, so regularly reviewing your report is another smart financial habit to adopt."
— Margaret Poe, Head of Consumer Credit Education, TransUnion
2. Take advantage of employer-offered financial wellness benefits
"One of the biggest untapped areas to build wealth easily is through employer’s benefits packages. Our survey found just 38% of workers take advantage of all financial wellness benefits offered by their employer. When asked why they don’t use all the benefits, 15% said they’re unsure what their employer offers. However, workers need to make sure they are doubling down on efforts to utilize what’s in their benefits package, helping them reach their retirement goals and ease financial anxiety. In addition to retirement plans, employers will often offer programs to address broader financial wellness needs, such as student loan management, a wellness benefits stipend, and even access to financial advisors. In the New Year, workers need to look beyond their paycheck and ensure they’re making the most out of their compensation package — a dollar they can save today is money they can invest in their retirement."
— Mindy Yu, CIMA Director of Investing, Betterment at Work
3. Eliminate unnecessary recurring subscription fees
“My car wash now asks if I want to sign up for a subscription. Everything is a subscription, and these fees add up! We often forget what we signed up for, so do an audit of your subscription fees and you may find a way to save yourself $10 - $200 a month.”
— Jeff Miller, CFEI, US Vice President, Nudge Global
4. Use a cash back credit card — not a debit card — for most purchases
"Credit cards are superior to debit cards in every way, but only for those responsible enough to pay their statement balance in full every month. In addition to earning cash back, points, or miles, many credit cards offer purchase protection, warranty protection, and even travel insurance. If your credit card number is stolen, it is easy to dispute unauthorized charges and get a new card quickly mailed to you. If your debit card is stolen, it can be a more difficult situation to deal with since it is directly tied to your bank account. My favorite no-annual-fee cards are the Chase Freedom Unlimited (earns 1.5% cash back or more per dollar spent) and the Citi Double Cash Card (earns 2% cash back per dollar spent). Those who currently use cash or their debit card for most purchases should switch to a credit card in 2024."
— Phil Dengler, Co-Founder, The Vacationer
5. Refinance or consolidate high-interest variable debts from credit cards
“In 2023, 43% of all cardholders revolved on the credit cards they have. That means that cardholders have carried an unpaid portion over to the following month, causing many to fall deeper into debt. To get off the hamster wheel of debt in 2024, consider refinancing or consolidating high-interest variable debts from credit cards into a personal loan which offer fixed monthly payments, interest rates and flexible features. Once you’ve done that, negotiate with your existing creditors to improve your repayment terms on existing debt. Whether through prudent budgeting, debt consolidation, or targeted repayment plans, the goal is to alleviate the burden of indebtedness and pave the way for long-term financial stability.”
— Alia Dudum, Money Expert, LendingClub
6. Reassess your insurance coverage annually
"With nearly 22% of homes underinsured, the new year is the perfect time to reassess your insurance policies to account for changes in your home’s value, expanded coverage needs, lifestyle changes, or new financial goals. Insurance brokers can help consumers understand complicated terminology and offer neutral expert advice during this process to help support financial wellness in 2024."
— Bryan Davis, EVP, Head of VIU by HUB
7. Get pre-approved for a mortgage and set a comfortable monthly budget
“If you're planning to buy a home in 2024 and are looking for New Years resolutions to help make the process as smooth as possible, I first recommend getting pre-approved to know your purchasing power and set a comfortable monthly budget, factoring in insurance and maintenance costs. Second, start planning early by defining your needs, wants, deal breakers, and desired lifestyle, which will save you time and money. I would also suggest meeting with an accountant or financial advisor to strategically position yourself as a strong buyer and ensure you are making a sound financial investment in your new home, even if you're not ready to buy immediately. Lastly, it’s important to understand what loan or down payment programs you qualify for in your state, as this will help you identify cost-saving opportunities when buying your new home and empower you to make a more informed decision for one of life’s biggest purchases.”
8. Nail down the details
"Many Americans know that they have room for improvement for their long-term financial outlook. The New Year’s Resolutions Study from Allianz Life found that nearly half of Americans intend to make a resolution to manage their money better or save more in the coming year. That’s a great place to start. But, too many resolutions stop there with vague intentions. That will only lead you to feel like you’re falling short. The best way to make and keep a resolution is to nail down the details. That way you can track your progress and see how you’re doing the work for your future self.
One of the most common ways people want to better their finances is by increasing their retirement savings, according to our study. Even still, that lacks specificity. How much will you save? In what type of account will the money go? And how will that increased savings help you to achieve the retirement you want? No matter your age or proximity to retirement, it’s never too late to save. In order to have a successful resolution, you need to have a detailed plan for what you want to achieve. Here are a few ideas for specific resolutions to set you up for the future:
— Increase your 401(k) contributions in order to gain the full match from your employer.
— Increase your contributions to your IRA by 1%
— Direct half of your monthly contributions into a Roth account in order to mitigate future tax risks.
And, if you don’t know where to focus your efforts, now is a great time to meet with a financial professional. They can help you establish a written financial plan and the steps you’ll need to take to set yourself up for the long run."
— Kelly LaVigne, VP of Consumer Insights, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
9. Learn how to live below your means
"It’s a step beyond living within your means, as it provides a cushion for unexpected expenses, for saving toward your goals and for less stress. It may involve some changes in your spending habits and lifestyle patterns, but it lets you decide where your money goes instead of being influenced by whims, advertising, habits or peer pressure."
10. Consider maximizing your retirement account contributions
"In 2024, the maximums for investment accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs are increasing to $23,000 and $7,000 respectively. You have the entire year to fill your account, and up to tax day in 2025 for IRA’s. After that, the window to sock away money closes for 2024.
Putting funds away in these accounts and selecting investments that fit your needs could be part of your saving for retirement strategy.
Please remember to explore all of your options and talk to a tax, legal, or personal investment professional before making any decisions."
— Brett Holzhauer, Personal Finance Expert, M1
11. Create a plan with your partner
"Take time to discuss your individual financial goals and values with your partner. Make it a habit to regularly review and adjust your financial plan together, ensuring it aligns with changes in your lives and priorities. Being open and transparent about your finances can benefit both your relationship and financial well-being."
12. Save and grow your money for retirement as early as possible to combat inflation
"Retirement can be the largest expense you have ever had to save for. Saving and investing early on, diversifying your bets and being strategic will help tremendously in funding your retirement. Here are some tips on determining how much you may need to fund retirement: If you are spending $100,000/year today, and you determine that is your annual retirement spending goal, $100,000 year 1 of retirement today with inflation at 2.5% is equal to roughly $180,000 in year 25. If your retirement lasts 25 years and starts at $100,000/year, the sum of each year inflated by 2.5% each year equals $3.5 million – that is what your retirement can cost you."
— Stephanie Hughes, CEO, Wiss Private Client Advisors
13. Take control of interest rates
"It's easy to feel powerless when the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates so many times in recent years and it remains unclear when they'll finally start to lower them. However, the truth is that you don't have to wait for the Fed to act. If you have good credit, you have several options to bring down your interest rates long before the Fed does. Consider a 0% balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan. They can save you real money and significantly shorten the payoff time on your debt. Also, you can simply call your card issuer and ask for a lower rate. A LendingTree survey showed that 76% of people who asked their issuer for a lower rate in 2023 got one, and the average reduction was about 6 percentage points. That's a big deal! The success rate, which was high for years even before the pandemic, indicates that it isn't just folks with 800 credit scores and long track records who are getting their way. It is real people who need help, too. It's absolutely worth making the call."
— Matt Schulz, Chief Credit Analyst, LendingTree
14. Build an emergency fund
"Along with savings, set aside a permanent rainy-day fund. This is an amount for those unforeseen expenses that would detract the rest of your goals. A good target would be 3-6 months’ worth of your expenses. This should be apart from your other goals and reviewed annually."
— Shashin Shah, Director at SFMG Wealth Advisors, CFP Board Ambassador
Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.
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