Life is very strange now. And the financial advice—which, let’s be honest, was never this intuitive from the start—is somehow weirder.
For millions of Americans, “office” has become a fluid concept, with workers finally gaining the upper hand in everything from salaries to schedules. Interest rates are so low that putting a portion of your salary into a traditional savings account might actually be bad advice these days. And housing prices? If you’re a potential home buying and it doesn’t ring on New Year’s Eve lying in the fetal position, you are one of the blessed few.
But know this: No matter what 2022 holds for you, this year still stands your year.
Below, you’ll find 22 New Year’s financial resolutions to help you save, spend, and invest, along with some practical tips for making them consistent.
Whether you’re looking for a new job, a new car, or a new strategy to reach the end of the year with little pocket money, you’ve come to the right place.
Make a nest egg
Today’s low interest rate environment means you’ll have to sweat a bit more to grow your savings than in the pre-pandemic years, but taking advantage of untapped options like high-yield savings accounts and government-backed bonds can make a world of difference.
As Margaret Bolton, a behavioral science researcher at Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, told Money, now is the time to “make one decision, one change that will have a lasting impact all year long.”
Translation? The sooner the better.
Get a career glow
Employers are facing an employment crisis. At last count, there were 2.8 million more jobs in the United States than job seekers. And every day, more people are turning away from their desk jobs—and many without another—to join the Great Resignation.
But another trend is emerging below the surface. For the first time in many of our jobs, workers have all the leverage.
Here’s how to use it well.
Finally start investing
Investment advice has long been treated as the last frontier of personal finance.
There are many of them, for example, and many of them are conflicting. Even the simplest of concepts has enough jargon to make your eyes roll back (who doesn’t have a “401(k) vs IRA”, “exchange-traded fund” and “what’s my credit” in our Google history?). And that was before cryptocurrencies, meme stocks, and NFTs started making headlines.
But as Money reporter Malika Mitra writes in the story below about mutual funds, if you’re new to investing, “you don’t have to pick the top stocks, or decide which company will deliver excellent returns,” to begin with.
Here is some information you need.
Pay off your debts
US debt averaged $92,727 in 2020 (including mortgage, student loan and other types of debt), according to the latest data from credit agency Experian.
If you’re one of them, chopping up this ever-growing number can seem like impossible.
“Paying off debt — student loans or otherwise — is a permanent item on my lists of New Year’s resolutions,” Money editor Kaitlin Mulhere wrote. “But like many solutions, it’s easy to lose your motivation as the year goes on, 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. Brick-and-mortar retail sales slumped; Used car prices have skyrocketed. Supply chain problems have driven up prices for necessities like gas, groceries, and everything in between. And as anyone who embraced the idea of buying a home in the last year can tell you, it was a total thing. *
Now the economy is picking up, and consumer spending is moving in tandem — even though 62% of people say they still shop more online than they did at the start of the pandemic, according to a Synchrony poll.
With restaurants and bars reopening, and travel becoming something people do regularly again, it can be tempting to spend money like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character. But if you devote yourself to shopping for the things you really need — as shopping expert Lisa Lee Freeman advises — you’ll be better prepared to face the next downturn when it (inevitably) happens.
Make health a priority
Is there anything more mature for decision setting (and unfortunately, giving up) than health goals?
Instead of half-heartedly committing to losing a lot of weight this year, or exercising when you know it never will, consider choosing something more realistic. The results may be life changing.
Here are some ideas to get you started.