Thursday, December 31, 2009

6 Tips for Keeping Resolutions

I know we all hear how New Year’s Resolutions are doomed to fail. But don’t give up on the notion of change just because of someone else’s failure. According to a survey by TD Ameritrade and the Opinion Research Corp of Princeton, N.J, three in four Americans will make at least one financial-related New Year's resolution in 2010. The survey also found that 60 percent of those who made financial resolutions last year reported they were still "going strong". This year if resolve to succeed at better managing your money here are a few tactics to help you reach your goal.

1) Automate. This tip comes from Ramit Sethi author of I Will Teach You to be Rich. Ramit say’s that you can “Save money while sleeping.” This is simple get your money flowing by using the tools of technology. Sign-up for direct deposit and split your paycheck between some type of savings and checking accounts. Enroll in paycheck deductions that go into your 401(k). Set up automatic transfers from regular savings into higher yielding accounts. Use electronic bill pay and you won’t have to worry about mailing checks on time. There is so much you can do to make your financial life easier and reach your goals.

2) Remove Temptation. If you like to go to the mall or browse ebay and craigslist for entertainment get a new hobby. If you regularly meet with friends for coffee, suggest a walk instead. In fact, I’d probably suggest that you replace any wallet draining habit you have with going outside. You’ll be healthier and wealthier. But the bigger point is that if you are spending money just to feel better or kill time, find another outlet.

3) Don’t just go without, redirect. Many people will tell you that you should not spend $5 on a daily latte. They’ll say you should save that money instead. But, if you’re not taking that five bucks and redirecting it toward savings or debt payoff you might as well enjoy the latte. Physically (or automatically) redirect your that money into debt payment or investments. And better than giving up a $5 latte, look for bigger money by refinancing your mortgage or selling un-needed stuff.

4) Learn more about money. Start soaking up everything you can about finances and soon you’ll make better financial decisions. Take advantage of the abundant resources Coors Credit Union offers like online seminars, this blog, the website, and free workshops. There are also many excellent blogs and websites that offer free and up-to-date information. Reading about finances can be boring, but there are a few writers who simplify and make it interesting. Check Amazon and the New York Times Bestseller list for the latest in personal finance books.

5) Don’t keep secrets. If you want to succeed with your goal to better manage your money tell the people who matter. Don’t just blast your message to everyone in hopes that if you say it it will happen. Enlist the people who are closest to you to work toward a specific goal: your kids, best friend, spouse or partner.

6) Make it visual. Some people like to stick a chart on the fridge or in the bathroom—some place where it will be seen daily. This chart visual depicts the goal. If your goal is to save money you could make one of those thermometers that fundraisers use to show progress. If it’s paying down debt you could simply write the amount of debt and each month cross off the old balance in red and write the new one. Or if you goal is to save for a vacation, buy a house or some other purchase you could post a picture that represents the purchase to remind you of its importance.

If you adopt just one of these tactics you are more apt to achieve your goal.
Good Luck and Happy New Year!

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