2016 may be remembered for many things, from a grueling presidential election to the loss of such notables as Prince and Princess Leia. We can only imagine what 2017 will bring to the world stage. Closer to home, we hope that you have the opportunity to take a pause and reflect on your hopes and consider some good advice from an article in US News, “A Simple Resolution for the New Year.” The takeaway: don’t just come up with resolutions, come up with a plan and stick to it.
We all like the idea of making a New Year's resolution…it’s based on our desire to improve. Good intentions go a long way, but we’ve all fought through the jammed gym in January, only to hear crickets while you exercise in March. Instead of biting off more than you can chew—so to speak—find one thing and make that your focus for all of 2017.
While a recent survey found that 40% of respondents put exercise and diet at the top of their resolution lists for 2017, right behind at 37%, was getting a better handle on money and saving more. Regardless of your age, here are simple and obtainable financial resolutions to think about for every generation.
Millennials: Try living on a cash basis for one month. This can be a real eye-opening experience and make you more aware of new debt. In addition, you can see the true cost of living expenses, which can help you to use better budgeting habits.
Generation X: Protect your family and yourself. Many of these folks are now parents and are also focusing on careers. They’re reaching their maximum earning potential. A great resolution for Gen Xers is to purchase life insurance and/or disability insurance, in the event something was to happen to you or your spouse. You should also be sure that your 401(k) is being maxed out to leverage the full employer match. Look into developing a financial plan and examine tax planning to maximize savings.
Baby Boomers: Review your estate plans. Make sure that your estate plan is up-to-date and, at the same time, review all beneficiaries on life insurance policies, IRAs and other plans.
Whatever generation you belong to, you should be planning with an eye to many years ahead. Americans are living longer, and retirement can last as long as two and even three decades. Throughout the year, you’ll want to make sure that your retirement finances are on track to keep pace with this longer lifespan and cost of living increases. Whether your retirement is near or far, increasing your retirement savings in 2017, even by a small amount, can have a big impact.
Reference: US News (December 20, 2016) “A Simple Resolution for the New Year”