Financial Resolutions For 2016

Marshall Rathmell |


It’s that time of year when Americans look to the future by making New Year’s resolutions.  The majority of these resolutions concern fitness or finance.  Fitness and financial resolutions are alike in that both begin with initial enthusiasm but unfortunately often wan as willpower gives way to reverting to old habits and these old habits bring the same old results.  There’s a big difference; fitness resolutions are pretty visible – the crowds at the gym the first week of January – while financial resolutions are more solitary efforts.

If you are among the many who seek some measure of financial control and stability in the current economic uncertainty here are some ideas for your resolutions:

  • Are you happy with your 2015 results?  If not, what needs to happen to make you happy when you look back on 2016 in 365 days?  Write down a list of a few items that, if they happened, you could say, “That makes me happy!”  This is the beginning of a financial plan – creating your desired future on paper then living your plan to achieve those things that will make you happy.
  • Define your goals and the actions necessary to achieve them as your first priority.  Don’t focus your energy on looking only for short term investment returns through “sure” or risky things.  You can make more progress by capturing average returns that are all working together to support you achieving your goals.    
  • Choose discipline.  Your plan is not worth the paper it’s written on without the discipline to actually do the things recommended in the plan.  Discipline is the doing – over and over again.  See the attorney about your wills.  Fill in the gaps in your insurance coverage.  Pay off debt each month.  Sign up for your employer’s retirement plan.
  • Once discipline becomes easy, it’s a habit.  When good financial behavior is a habit it changes who you have become.  It’s no longer as hard as using willpower to stay on track.  It’s who you are – taking steps designed to create the financial life you want.
  • As in all areas of your life, you can’t be great at everything you need to be successful.  As your unique abilities begin to emerge, increase your capacity to focus on the areas of your expertise and delegate more and more of the other stuff to specialists.  Interdependence is the key to success in our highly specialized economy of today.  Find those specialists who can help you achieve success. 

Success is achieved less from a few very significant accomplishments than it is from a series of daily decisions that get you on the right track and keep you on the right track.

So, in summary: 

  1. Decide what it takes to make you happy financially in 2016
  2. Define the required action steps
  3. Be disciplined
  4. Developing habits that change who you are
  5. Seek help from specialists who can help you achieve success

I hope by adopting these ideas in your 2016 resolutions, there are more of us still pursuing our financial resolutions than are left in the gym in three months! 

Happy Resolutions for a financially successful 2016.

-Sandra Cleveland-