Fifty-four percent of Americans planned on making a financial resolution for 2015. According to a new poll by GOBankingRates, saving money, paying down debt and improving spending continue to top the list. Given only 8 percent of people actually achieve their resolutions, it might be time to change things up a bit.
Here are seven things you can do this month to positively impact your finances all year.
1. Finally create that budget.
Making a resolution to just spend less is too vague — you’ll never be able to spend less if you don’t know what you are spending in the first place. Instead, make a commitment to learn to stick to a budget. The good thing about budgets is that they are flexible — the budget you set in January is going to be very different than what you end up with in December. Life has a tendency to throw curve balls and your budget will change as your life does, so don’t get too locked into the idea you have to stick to your first shot. Successful budgeters know it takes time to find a system that works, so use the entire year to perfect your budgeting skills.
2. See a Certified Financial Planner.
Even if you don’t have a lot of money to save or invest, the benefits of seeing a certified financial planner (CFP) outweigh the costs. A good planner will examine your financial picture, discuss your goals and help you come up with a long-term financial game plan. CFPs are often confused for investment advisors; investment advisors recommend investment products and manage portfolios, while CFPs take a broader look at your finances and offer advice on budgeting, debt, tax planning, saving and more. A Certified Financial Planner can also assist with estate planning, which leads me to…