Financial Resolutions for the New Year 2014

Now that we've rung in the New Year 2014, it’s time to start making promises, the financial kind, which are among the most common ones made each year and the hardest to keep.

Almost half of all Americans make a New Year’s resolution, but only about eight percent of us achieve our goals. The New Year, however, is a great time to start reviewing finances and assessing what happened during the past year. For many, their will power is at its strongest. Former FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) securities attorney Debra G. Speyer gives her three financial tips to live by to help you keep your money-smart resolutions going strong:

Financial resolution No. 1: Check your past investments…

And then re-check them! Speyer recommends getting started by reviewing your accounts and investments with a fine-tooth comb. “Focus on them to see if there were any problems in the past year,” she says. “Were there investments you didn’t authorize? How did your investments do last year?” This will help you determine how well your money moves are currently working and if they’re worth reconfiguring.

Financial resolution No. 2: Read your statements as they come…

That’s right, log on or check your mailbox regularly! Many people do not even open the envelopes containing their financial statements that arrive in the mail. Speyer suggests making a resolution to take an active watch over your finances. “You have to read the statements, track what is going on and see what your money is doing,” she says.

Financial resolution No. 3: Have a monthly review…

In 30 minutes or less! A great way to keep this resolution going all year long is to sit down at the end of every month with your bank or stock brokerage statement and review it. Try to make it fun by putting on your favorite music and keeping the review to 30 minutes or less.

Your financial future relies on what you do now. So while you're hopeful about the coming months, ask the necessary questions to ensure savings are taken care of properly. “People need to make a resolution to watch their finances just like they watch their health,” she says. “It is just as important.”

by Stacey Brecher