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Every year, many Canadians make New Year’s resolutions. It’s natural – the turning of the calendar makes us think of fresh starts. This year, about 43% of Canadians have set some New Year goals1. Especially after a taxing year because of the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has stressed Canadians physically, emotionally and financially, many are looking for a better tomorrow. Of the 43% who have made resolutions, 26% have set financial goals for 2021, 25% have set physical goals and 23% have set mental health goals.
One of the best ways to accomplish any goal is to make it specific. Do you want to lose weight? You’re more likely to be successful if you give yourself a specific plan. “I resolve to lose 10 pounds this year by losing 1.2 pounds a month by working out three times a week and cutting chips and cookies out of my diet” is a stronger action plan than “I resolve to get skinnier.”
And remember, a resolution is only as good as your ability to keep it. Don’t feel you have to take on too many resolutions – even just one of the following is a great start.
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Knowing your credit score and making sure it’s accurate is an important part of a healthy financial regimen. Ranging from about 300 points to 900 points, your credit score determines how easy or difficult it is to get a loan and at what rate. You can get your credit report free once a year from one of Canada’s credit bureaus (TransUnion and Equifax) and you can sign up for credit monitoring services that can you give unlimited credit score checks.
Be specific on this one. Rather that resolving to “save money,” make a resolution to save a percentage of what you make. Many experts advise saving 20% of your income, especially for retirement savings, but that can be difficult for many of us to do. Why not start a savings plan that is easy and then you can always work up from there with each new year that passes once you find it’s not that hard? If you take home $500 a week, or $2,000 a month, saving 1% of your take-home pay is a mere $5 a week or $260 a year. That’s $1,300 in 5 years. If you can save $25 a week, or 5% of your take-home pay, you’ll save $1,300 before the next New Year comes around.
43% of Canadians said they made New Year’s resolutions for 2021
The best way to be successful at keeping resolutions is by making them specific.
Three easy financial resolutions you might want to make this year are: monitor your credit score every three months; save a portion of your monthly pay; and track your expenses.
This sounds harder than it is. Many people find that they can lose weight when they track the food they eat, helping them be more mindful of what and how much they eat. It’s the same with money. If you track how much you spend, every little amount, you become more mindful of what you’re spending and gain insight into where you might be spending too much. Some people log it all into an easy spreadsheet but there are also free apps you can download on your phone. Put an alert on your phone to remind you every day!
You can make this year the one where you stick to your financial resolutions and that’s a great feeling. Happy New Year!