Life is pretty weird right now. And financial advice – which, let’s be honest, was never so intuitive to begin with – is even stranger.
For millions of Americans, the “office” has become a malleable concept, with workers finally taking over everything from wages to hours. Interest rates are so low that putting part of your paycheck into a traditional savings account might actually be bad advice these days. What about housing prices? If you are a potential buyer who has not rung the New Year in a fetal position, you are one of the blessed few.
But know this: no matter what 2022 has in store for you, this year can still be your year.
Below, you’ll find 22 New Year’s Financial Resolutions to help you save, spend, and invest, along with some practical tips to keep them going.
Whether you’re looking for a new job, a new car, or a new strategy to end the year with a little more spending money, you’ve come to the right place.
Build your nest egg
Today’s low interest rate environment means you’ll have to sweat a bit more to grow your savings from pre-pandemic years, but become plugged into underutilized options like savings accounts. high yield and government guaranteed I bonds can make a world of difference.
As Margaret Bolton, principal behavioral science researcher at Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, tells Money, now is the time to “make a decision, a change that will have a lasting impact for the whole year.”
Translation? The earliest would be best.
Get a career glow
Employers are facing a hiring crisis. At last count, there were 2.8 million more openings in the United States than job seekers. And every day more and more people are leaving their desk jobs – many without another lined up – to join the “Great Resignation.”
But there’s another trend bubbling below the surface. For the first time in many of our careers, workers have all the power.
Here’s how to put it to good use.
Finally start investing
Investment advice has always been treated as the last frontier in personal finance.
There’s a ton, for one, and a lot of it is contradictory. Even the simplest concepts have enough jargon to make you look the other way (who among us doesn’t have “401 (k) vs IRA”, “exchange-traded fund” and “what is a trustee?” In our Google history?). And that was before cryptocurrencies, memes stocks, and NFTs started making headlines.
But as Money reporter Mallika Mitra writes in the article below on mutual funds, if you’re new to investing, “you don’t need to pick the hottest stocks or identify which company will have exceptional returns ”, to begin with.
Here is some information you need.
Pay off your debt
The average American owed $ 92,727 in 2020 (including mortgage, student loan and other types of debt), according to the most recent data from the credit agency Experian.
If you are one of them, reducing this ever-growing number can seem almost impossible.
“Paying off debt – student loans or otherwise – is a permanent item on New Year’s resolution lists,” writes Money editor Kaitlin Mulhere. “But like many resolutions, it’s easy to lose motivation as the year progresses, especially if you don’t have a clear plan of attack.”
Here’s how to get one.
COVID-19 has changed the way we shop. Retail sales of bricks and mortar fell; used car prices have skyrocketed. Problems in the supply chain have driven up the prices of basic necessities like gasoline, groceries and everything in between. And as anyone who has even considered the idea of buying a home last year can tell you, it has been quite a * thing. *
Now, the economy is rebounding and consumer spending is growing at the same time – although 62% of people say they still shop online more than at the start of the pandemic, according to a Synchrony poll.
As restaurants and bars reopen and travel once again becomes something people do on a regular basis, it can be tempting to spend money like an F. Scott Fitzgerald character. But if you’re dedicated to buying the items you actually need, as shopping expert Lisa Lee Freeman advises, you’ll be better prepared for the next economic downturn when it (inevitably) happens.
Make health a priority
Is there anything more ripe for setting a resolution (and, sadly, dropping it) than health goals?
Instead of making a half-hearted commitment to losing a lot of weight this year, or exercising religiously when you know it will never happen, consider choosing something a little more realistic. The results could be just as shocking.
Here are some ideas to get you started.