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By Jean Chatzky

Eat healthier. Lose weight. Get more sleep. Save more money. Any of those New Year’s resolutions sound familiar? That last one definitely should — this year, 32 percent of people plan to make a financial resolution for the year ahead, according to Fidelity’s tenth annual New Year Financial Resolutions study. Nearly half of all financially resolved folks — 48 percent — plan to save more, 29 percent plan to pay down debt, and 15 percent expect to spend less. Millennials are the most eager to turn things around financially, with an overwhelming majority of them — 94 percent — making financial resolutions for 2019, according to data from Principal Financial Group.

But here’s the thing: Just 8 percent of us manage to create lasting change from the resolutions we set for ourselves. Breaking any habit can be incredibly difficult, and when that habit is spending money, then your savings goals can slip through your fingers quicker than you can scan Apple Pay. Thankfully, there are some solutions for the 92 percent of us who don’t want to go down without a fight.

Your Resolutions Are Not Punishment

First and foremost, you should never view your resolutions as a punishment for not having saved more or been more financially responsible in the past, explains Shelly-Ann Eweka, CFP, and a Denver-based financial director at financial services firm TIAA. Rather, you should view them as a form of self-care. You owe it to yourself to improve. Because of that, you shouldn’t beat yourself up try to throw your entire plan out the window if you slip up and overspend once in a while.

And don’t feel like you have to exist only in the extremes. The question shouldn’t be “Should I spend or save,” rather, it’s “How can I be thoughtful about doing both?” says Jerry Patterson, senior vice president, Retirement and Income Solutions with Principal Financial Group.


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