“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.” -Benjamin Franklin.
The first of the year brings both the promise of new beginnings and the burden of self-improvement. Fueled by the nostalgia of the holidays and armed with a year’s worth of regrets, some 45% of Americans decide to make New Year’s resolutions each January, according to research from the University of Scranton.
We all certainly have our fair share of vices, especially as they relate to money. So it’s unsurprising that financially-themed resolutions are among the most popular made each new year. But the fact that less than 10% of resolution-makers achieve their goals is not a good sign for hopes of improved money management.
Don’t be discouraged, though. WalletHub has your back. Below, you will find a list of the top 10 financial resolutions to make in 2018, along with some helpful tips for making sure they happen. Now, we know it's no longer January, however, making changes in your financial life can happen at any point in the year. Seeing that we are all working on taxes and potentially receiving income tax refund checks, this is the best time to kick-start your year of financial freedom.
Americans owe way too much credit card debt. By the end of 2017, we’ll likely break the all-time record and cross $1 trillion in outstanding balances. That debt is extremely expensive, too, growing even more so with each Federal Reserve rate hike. Something eventually has to give. And you’d much rather that be your outstanding balance, paid down on your own terms, than your ability to afford monthly minimum payments and, in turn, your credit score. So it’s time to get serious about getting out of credit card debt.Some of the other steps mentioned here – including budgeting, automation, and the Island Approach – will help in terms of reducing your future reliance on debt. But the problem of what to do about existing balances still remains. The answer for people with at least “good” credit is the combination of a 0% balance transfer credit card and a credit card calculator, which has the potential help you save hundreds of dollars while getting out of debt months sooner than you would otherwise.But it’s probably best to start small, considering the average household will owe approximately $8,548 by the end of 2017. So we recommend making a plan to pay off 20% of what you owe over the course of 2018. That would amount to about $1,710 for the average household, requiring monthly payments of $143 with a card offering 0% on transfers for at least 12 months. You can use a credit card payoff calculator to crunch the numbers in your situation, and if you can afford higher payments, by all means, make them. The sooner you can reach debt freedom, the better off your wallet will be.