Map Out a Financially Fit New Year!

By Lauren Chaplin, AFC® Candidate, FINRA Military Spouse Fellow

The New Year is just around the corner! If 2015 was tough on your financial accounts and waist lines, now is the perfect time to create your New Year resolutions for 2016. lists the Top Ten New Year’s resolutions for most Americans. In addition to the usual ones—quit smoking and lose weight, etc., saving money is right at the top of the list. Yes, the promise of a New Year is the perfect time to reboot financially!

Barbara O'Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Financial Resource Management Specialist at Rutgers Cooperative Extension, who helped develop 25 Small Steps to Health and Wealth, suggests working on three or four of these steps simultaneously and revisit as needed. Finding the best combination to work with will depend on your personal wealth goals. 

I’ll use one of my own financial goals as an example to demonstrate:

Wealth goal: Finish saving spending money for our family Disney trip in May 

  1. Make progress every day.  I’m making a conscious effort to use cash more often than I do now so that any change we have goes into the bank.
  2. Make it a family affair and be accountable. This is a family trip.  My family is aware of all the goals that we have when it comes to this trip. When my children find money or have extra, they want to put it into the Disney Fund.  My husband is also making a conscious effort to use cash more and putting any leftovers into our fund.
  3. Say no to supersizing. The beginning of the year is also the time for New Year deals and sales.  As tempting as they may sound, I will do my best to keep our Disney trip the number one priority. 

Before you start setting your own goals and steps, know that any change you decide to make will take time.  You need to take the time, energy and patience to invest in the change you want to make.  Also, understand that you may need to revisit your goals.  Military Saves Week is February 22-27 this year, so it’s a great time to check in to see how you are doing on your goals. 

How can you make 2016 the year of a financially fit you?  Know what you want and map out the steps to get there.  Every journey begins with just one step—an old saying that is so very true.  Let the New Year light the fire in your belly to become financially fit! 

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