Retirement, Investments, & Insurance for Individuals Build your knowledge 6 New Year’s financial resolutions you can keep

6 New Year’s financial resolutions you can keep

Pick one (or all) of these financial goals to get your year off on a solid start.

Female student using her smartphone to check her personal finances.
3 min read |

The start of a new year means another opportunity to make New Year’s resolutions. That’s exactly what many do: Seven in ten people plan to set goals for themselves in the coming year.(1) Yet, most New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past the first month.(2) This happens so often there’s now a holiday for it: Quitter’s Day on January 12, which marks when most people typically give up on their resolutions for the year.

Want to avoid the fate of Quitter’s Day with your financial resolutions for the New Year? Here are some ideas to help you make good on your plans.

1. Take control of your spending habits.

Spending money may feel good for some people, but it’s also easy for personal spending to get out of control. A household budget can help you see where your money goes, identify where you’re spending too much, and discover where you might save.

A good place to start is a household budget worksheet (PDF). Use actual dollar amounts from your recent bank and credit card statements to get an accurate picture of your spending and any potential to save.

2. Put money you don’t spend in an emergency savings account.

Start with $10 or $50 or $100. Even savings small amounts on a regular basis will come in handy when you get an unwelcome financial surprise. If you’re able to cover a portion of these unexpected costs with emergency savings, it can help you from falling behind on other financial goals. Need help setting emergency savings goals? An emergency fund calculator helps you estimate how much you should aim for.

3. Start contributing to a workplace retirement plan.

If you have a retirement plan through your employer, see how much you can contribute. Any amount—even 1%—is a start; try to aim for the minimum you need to get any matching contribution.

4. Bump up your retirement plan contributions.

Getting a pay raise or a bonus? Consider putting those funds toward your retirement savings. Or, use them to make a catch-up contribution if you’re over age 50 or turning 50 this year. You can save up to $7,500 for a total of $30,500 in 401(k) contributions per year.(3)

5. Open or contribute to an individual retirement account (IRA) or Roth IRA.

A 401(k) is not the only option for retirement saving; IRAs and Roth IRAs are worthwhile considerations, too. Similar to 401(k)s, IRAs are created with pre-tax contributions, so withdrawals are taxed. Roth IRAs, on the other hand, are made with post-tax contributions, so withdrawals are not taxed. And unlike a 401(k), an IRA or Roth IRA travels with you, no matter your job; you never have to roll it over into another account if you leave an employer.

6. Rebalance your retirement savings accounts.

Many retirement savings accounts automatically rebalance every year so that you maintain a mix of assets allocated with your goals in mind. Some, however, do not. If yours isn’t set up to automatically rebalance, consider checking your allocations.

What’s next?

Stay motivated on accomplishing your New Year’s goals with help from Principal®Log in to principal.com to get current account information. Don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement account, or want to save more? We can help you set up an IRA or Roth IRA account. Then, build your knowledge with updated insights on a range of financial topics.