Most New Year’s resolutions are pointless. Only one in 10 people stick with them for a year, and most people don’t last more than a month. However those who resolve to improve their money behaviour at the start of the year get ahead at a faster rate than those who do not, new research shows.
Among those who made a financial resolution in 2014, 51% report feeling better about their money now, according to a new survey from Fidelity Investments. By contrast, only 38% of those who did not make a money resolution said they felt better.
Meanwhile, New Year’s financial resolutions seem to be easier to stay with: 42% find it easier to pay down debt and save more for retirement than, say, lose weight or give up smoking. Among those who made a financial resolution last year, 29% reached their goal and 73% got at least half way there, Fidelity found. Only 12% of resolutions having to do with things like fitness and health reach their goals.
Topping the financial resolutions list in the Fidelity survey, as is the case nearly every year, are saving more (55%), paying off debt (20%) and spending less (17%)—as people remain woefully under saved for retirement and paying off debt is almost always a smart strategy.
In the Schwab survey, 53% said if they were given an unexpected gift this year their top choice would be cash to pay down credit cards. One key to sticking to your New Year’s pledge: track progress and check in often. Two-thirds of those who set a goal find progress to be motivating, Fidelity found. That’s true whether you are trying to lose 50kgs or save R50 a week. Make your first financial resolution this year to join MyOwn Loyalty where money earned on better-for-you purchases is saved for a better life!