The beginning of the new year is the ideal time to take stock and set financial goals for the coming year. But, most people have forgotten all about their financial resolutions by the time six months have passed. To ensure that you are financially healthier at the end of 2018 than the beginning, use these practices to stay on track:

1. Write down your resolutions.

Don’t go for too many. Three is ideal. Make sure that your goals are clear, positive and achievable. “Cut spending,” is too vague to be effective. “Spend no more than $200 per month on meals out” is specific and easier to put into action.

2. Make it easy to stay compliant.

If you resolve to put more money into savings or a retirement account, automate the process. To curb spending, remove all but one credit card from your wallet and put it in an inconvenient spot. Or, remove all cards and restrict yourself to cash.

The more steps we need to take, the less likely we are to complete an action. Use this tendency to boost saving and nip spending in the bud.

3. Check in with yourself regularly.

Depending on the goal and your plans, check in on your progress once a week or once a month. Are you on track or are you falling behind? If you notice that you are not keeping up with your financial goal, figure out what you need to alter to put yourself back in a position to succeed.

By setting realistic goals and tending to them regularly, you can significantly increase your chances of achieving them in 2018. And, with some luck and commitment, you’ll end the year with less debt, a little more in savings and the foundation for even more prosperity in the future.


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Your Guide to Financial Independence

Rick Epple, CFP(r), CeFT (r)