Paycheck Chronicles

5 New Year's Financial Resolutions

Golden number of 2019 on dollar bills

A New Year, a new you ... that's the hope!

Unfortunately, however, the optimism that typically arrives alongside our new calendars often deteriorates into the same old, same old -- much too soon. This year, reframe your resolutions in the form of powerful action verbs. Then do what verbs do: Act. Here are some ideas:

Budget. This word is normally a sleepy noun whose mere mention puts people on the defensive. How did you respond the last time somebody asked, "Do you have a budget?" On the other hand, a commitment to budget -- yes, it can be a verb too -- can yield powerful results. Yes, there are a few folks out there who marvel in the mechanics of a budget, but most of us need a little motivation. Budgeting could free up money to take the big Disney vacation next year, fund your retirement or pay down debt. Think about why you need to save, and you'll convert "budget" into a transformative verb.

Save. This past summer, I was pleasantly surprised when U.S. savings rates skyrocketed into the 6 percent range. OK, skyrocketed might be a stretch, but we're all turning over a new leaf, so I'm going to accentuate the positive and try to tone down my sarcasm. While 6 percent is inadequate for most people to reach their goals, it was nearly double the recent trend in savings. Make a mere 6 percent a thing of the past in your savings game by using this year's pay raise or promotion to boost savings. Take advantage of nudges like your employer's automatic escalation programs, or set up an allotment or split deposit of your paycheck to create a savings program that kicks and sticks.

Protect. I'd venture to say that nothing is more important than the ones you love. Align your actions with your values, and ensure your family is protected if something happens to you or your spouse. That starts with an assessment of your life insurance coverage. Visit usaa.com/life and spend a few minutes with our life insurance calculator. On the more mundane side of things, make a review of your auto and property policies part of your annual refresh.

Noodle. Yes, I just wanted to use the word "noodle," but doing it is critical to your New Year's strategy. In this case, I'm hoping you'll sit down and map out what you want to accomplish -- your financial goals -- and some action steps to make them a reality.

Communicate. We just can't do this enough. Open and honest communication with your partner is at the heart of a solid relationship and is instrumental in your financial success. Get on -- and stay on -- the same sheet of music as it relates to money to solidify your shared vision and avoid conflict. What can you share with your significant other that will help you on your way forward?

Use these verbs to activate your 2019 New Year's resolutions.

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