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Columns | Go Far With Kovar

Advice for Attainable Financial New Year's Resolutions?

by Taylor Kovar
Hi Taylor - I'm thinking about my New Year's Resolution and hoping to make it something money related. Not really sure where to start, so do you have any advice for a resolution that might not be too hard to keep? - Melissa

Hi Melissa - January must be the most fiscally responsible year of the month, as people recover from the holidays and try to stick to resolutions. February is usually a different story, so let's go over some tips if one of these options is something you can keep for an entire year.
1. Drop an expensive habit. The key to setting financial goals you can stick to is eliminating broad, vague objectives. We all want to save more and spend less, but what does that actually look like? If you go over your spending habits and target something that's pretty costly, you can do some pretty quick saving. If you currently smoke cigarettes, your health and bank account will be delighted if you stop. If you buy an expensive coffee and a danish each morning, see if you can find a cheaper option. You probably have dozens of expenses that don't ruin you financially, but you'll have a much heavier wallet as soon as you cut them out of your life.

2. Pay attention to your retirement.
If you already have an IRA or a 401(k), you might not be worrying about your savings. However, by either rolling your 401(k) over to a more promising IRA or rebalancing the account you already have, you can make a quick financial change that will immediately improve your financial outlook. Once you've taken that step, you'll hopefully become a little more involved in the investing process and take more of an active role in your retirement savings. If you don't have a retirement account already, I think opening one should absolutely be your resolution.

3. Commit to spending-free days.
Like I said, the big goals can be difficult. Funding retirement requires extra money management, and changing your habits takes serious discipline. Sometimes the best resolutions are the ones that don't seem too daunting but have the potential to grow into bigger life changes. If you commit to not spending any money one day a week, or one weekend a month, you don't have to embrace a huge lifestyle shift. It can just be every other Thursday, or targeting a weekend when you know you don't have any social obligations. When you force yourself to plan a day in which you can't spend money, you have no choice but to think of free activities and planned meals at home. With any luck, the behavior will become habitual and spending-free days will start filling up your calendar.
Hopefully one of these options will work for you, Melissa. And, if you're feeling determined, maybe you could try all three. You can never have too many good resolutions. Happy New Year!



Taylor Kovar December 21, 2018
More "Go Far With Kovar"

Disclosure: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@TaylorKovar.com, or via regular mail to Lessons on Wealth, 106 E Lufkin Ave., Lufkin, TX 75901.

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