View of a new years resolution paper in typewriter, "This year I will"

Ten financial resolutions for the New Year (and a financial goals worksheet to get started)

Dec 21, 2021
Empower Insights

The best financial resolutions for 2022

What are your 2022 resolutions? If you’re looking to up your financial game, you’re not alone.

According to recent research from Empower Retirement and Personal Capital, Americans are making financial goals a priority in 2022. Thirty-seven percent of Americans are prioritizing paying off personal debt and 36% are focusing on retirement planning. That’s more than those who said losing weight (28%), buying a house (14%) or getting a new job (11%).1

So if you’re looking to set 2022 financial goals, here are 10 really great New Year’s financial resolutions to get you started:

1. Pay off personal debt

How to pay off debt depends on what type of debt you have. Because credit cards often carry high interest rates (18% or more), and issuers are happy to let you pay for that new TV over decades — with interest piling up along the way — it can be a good idea to prioritize paying off credit card debt.

2. Raise your retirement contribution rate

One sound strategy to implement into your savings routine is to begin contributing 10% (or even more) to your retirement plan account. And while your take-home pay will be reduced, your retirement nest egg has the potential to keep growing. Empower insight reveals people who set their contribution rate to at least 10% are on track to replace 100% of their working income down the road.2

If you're already maximizing your employer plan contributions, or don't have access to an employer plan, consider contributing to an Individual Retirement Account.

3. Kick a costly habit

Maybe it’s your daily gourmet coffee, a premium movie channel package or that afternoon sweet treat. Little things add up. Try to swap your pricey patterns for some good financial habits to put more money back in your pocket.

4. Build an emergency fund  

Cars deteriorate, basements flood and arms break. In other words, life is full of surprises. Expect the unexpected and create an emergency fund in order to avoid debt and cover those unforeseen expenses.

5. Talk with a financial advisor

By the end of the year, seek out human advice. A financial advisor can help you determine exactly what your financial goals are, walk you through your options, and provide a personalized plan. Getting guidance can help steer you in the right direction when you’re stuck in neutral.

6. Refinance your student loan

When it comes to your student debt, you may not be stuck with the “agreed-to” terms and details forever. Depending on how much you owe, you may be eligible to rework your loan to secure a lower interest rate, reduce your monthly payment and free up additional funds to allocate to your other pressing priorities. 

7. Improve your financial literacy

Every weekend or month, download and tune into a different financial or investing podcast. Or, if you’re too busy, commit to reading a personal finance book once per quarter or an educational article once per month. After discovering a wealth of savings tips and tricks, you may even become an expert yourself. 

8. Calculate your net worth

Your net worth is a good thing to know because it gives you a big-picture view of your financial health at any given time, and it’s an effective way to see if your finances are on track toward your goals. It can also help you identify where you may be able to reduce your debts and increase your assets.

9. Write a will

A will ensures your final wishes will be carried out as you intend. Without one in place, your estate could go through a lengthy process known as probate, which involves the courts dictating how your assets are distributed.

 10. Determine your financial priorities

Regardless of whether you’re early in your career or nearing the finish line, your golden years will be here before you know it. Writing down your short-term and long-term financial goals can help you make progress toward the future you imagine. Put pen to paper and use a financial goals worksheet to start 2022 off on the right financial foot.

Graphic of Financial goals worksheet download

 

Finally, in order to keep going strong all year long, it helps to set savings goals that are:

  • Specific: Be precise. Instead of saying, “My New Year’s resolution is to save money,” put an actual number on it. If you want to contribute more to your 401(k) or IRA account, determine an exact value like 10%.
  • Attainable: Be practical. Socking away $1 million in 2021 sounds amazing, but it may not be a realistic target for everyone. Establish reasonable expectations that fit with your income or salary.
  • Durable: Be persistent. Mistakes happen. If you slip up along the way, pick up the pieces and stick with it.

1 Empower Retirement and Personal Capital survey data as of November 2021.

2 Empower Institute, “Scoring the Progress of Retirement Savers 2020,” September 2020.

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