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Are you resolved?

by Luke Vandermillen, Vice President, the Principal Financial Group
Princor Registered Representative

Luke Vandermillen, Vice President, the Principal Financial GroupLuke Vandermillen, Vice President, the Principal Financial Group

A funny thing happens when we start a new year: A lot of us resolve to do things we should have been doing all along. Exercising, eating a healthful diet and making more time for family and friends are just a few examples. Paying off debt and saving more are two others.

Too often, though, we make the same resolutions year after year because, while our intentions are good, we don't put a proper plan in place to support our goals.

The most recent results of the Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM: American Workers, shows us we're not alone. When asked to reflect on the past year, 21 percent of American workers said that not saving enough was their biggest financial blunder. Accumulating credit card debt (13 percent) and not budgeting properly (10 percent) were also listed as big blunders in 2012.

But the most recent Principal Financial Well-Being Index results also indicate that American workers are ready to put those past blunders behind them. Employees are focused on setting concrete financial goals and putting strategies in place to achieve them. For the first year since 2008, saving a set amount each month is the top resolution for workers in 2013 followed by paying off credit card debt and cutting back on monthly spending. It's encouraging to see Americans putting strategies in place to save more next year.

As we begin 2013, I'd challenge you to reconsider your financial resolutions. Instead of simply saying "what" you are going to do, explain "how" you plan to do it. Think about your resolutions as lifelong behavior changes you want to make.

And, remember, you don't need to do it alone. Become familiar with your employer's benefit plans (including retirement plans) and understand ways they may help. For example, are you making the most of your employer's match component as a 401(k) plan participant or do you use an automatic option to increase retirement savings each year? I also encourage you to consider working with a financial professional who can help you understand your options and establish a financial plan.

Follow me on Twitter at @lvandermillen

Luke has more than 20 years of experience working with small and medium-sized businesses and American workers to help achieve financial security. Luke is one of the spokespeople for the Principal Financial Well Being Index: American WorkersSM.

Affiliation Disclosures

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company. Securities are offered through Princor Financial Services Corporation, 1-800-547-7754, member SIPC and/or independent broker dealers. Securities sold by a Princor® Registered Representative are offered through Princor. Princor and Principal Life are members of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.

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