Holiday shopping set records, and U.S. households are on track to start 2024 owing $100+ billion more to credit card companies than they did at the dawn of 2023, according to the Federal Reserve and WalletHub. The surge we’re about to see in finance-related New Year’s resolutions therefore makes perfect sense.

New Survey

A new survey by the personal finance website WalletHub found that 36% more Americans are planning to make finance-related New Year’s resolutions for 2024, compared to 2023. All told, nearly half of the adult population expects to set their mind to some sort of financial improvement in the new year.

“The rhythm of the ebb and flow is familiar, with the fourth quarter producing massive debt and consumers putting their noses to the grindstone for the first three months of the new year to at least stay afloat. But the number of people who say they want to ride the financial improvement wave in 2024 is encouraging,” said John Kiernan, WalletHub editor. “Although financial resolutions are among the hardest resolutions to keep, the payoff can be transformative.”

Unfortunately, we’re going to need to bring our personal finance game to the next level in 2024 if consumers’ fears are well founded. WalletHub’s survey revealed a high level of anxiety and a pocket of pessimism among people’s expectations for their wallets in the coming year.

Key Survey Findings

  • Surge in Financial Resolutions: 36% more Americans are planning to make finance-related New Year’s resolutions for 2024, compared to 2023.
  • Shared Financial Goals: Nearly 1 in 2 Americans are planning to make finance-related New Year’s resolutions.
  • New Year’s Spending Cut: Nearly 3 in 4 Americans plan to spend less money on New Year’s plans this year than last year.
  • Most Challenging Resolutions: More than 1 in 4 Americans say financial resolutions are the hardest resolutions to keep.
  • Price for Vice: People want an average of $176,550 to give up their top vice for a year.
  • Wallet Concerns for 2024: Nearly 1 in 4 people think 2024 will be worse for their wallet than 2023.
  • Financial Anxiety: Nearly 2 in 3 Americans are anxious about the future of their finances.

Motivation

Whether you’re motivated by fear, a desire to save money, or something else entirely, setting a goal for financial self-improvement in the new year can be very helpful. “We all have something we could improve on when it comes to money management,” Kiernan said. “Some people need to do a better job of budgeting to reign in spending and eliminate debt. Others might need to invest more in their identity theft protection or finetune their credit card strategy for maximum savings on every purchase, for example.”

Getting started can be the hard part, though. If you’re at a loss for what to resolve, try one of WalletHub’s 14 recommendations for 2024.

WalletHub’s Top Resolutions for 2024

1.   Get a 5%+ return on your cash8.   Fight back against inflation
2.   Protect your identity9.   Pay bills right after getting your paycheck
3.   Make a realistic budget & stick to it10. Look for a better job
4.   Explore ways to refinance high-interest rates11. Make sure you have enough insurance for a catastrophe
5.   Save more money12. Focus on physical health, given its strong connection to financial health
6.   Repay 20% of your credit card debt13. Get an A in financial literacy
7.   Use different credit cards for everyday purchases & debt14. Improve your WalletScore

Whatever you choose to focus on in the new year, making a plan for turning it into reality is essential. You can’t simply wing it and expect success. But putting these tips into practice will certainly help your chances.

Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Set Realistic Goals: Make sure your resolutions are achievable and specific. Setting a clear goal will make it easier to plan for success. Tell a friend or family member about your resolutions or find an accountability partner to help keep you on track. Sharing your goals with others can provide motivation and support.

Break It Down and Create a Plan: Divide your resolution into smaller, manageable steps or milestones for achievement. This can make the overall goal less daunting and help you track your progress. Develop a clear and actionable plan for achieving each milestone, as well as your overall goal. Write down the steps you need to take and set deadlines for each of them.

Stay Positive and Adaptable: Life can be unpredictable, and circumstances may change. A positive attitude is essential for maintaining your motivation. Focus on the progress you’ve made rather than dwelling on any setbacks, and don’t forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small they seem. Also, be willing to adjust your resolutions or your plan as needed to stay on track.

Be Consistent and Patient: Consistency is key to achieving your resolutions. Make your new habits a part of your daily routine, and don’t forget that change takes time. Setbacks are a normal part of the process, too, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.

Source: WalletHub