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Banking on Success: Financial Resolutions for the New Year

Setting financial goals for the new year can be the first step toward achieving long-term stability and financial security. Whether your aspirations involve saving for a major purchase, paying off debt, or building an emergency fund, realistic and achievable objectives can empower you to take control of your financial future.

Researchers suggest that 43% of New Year’s resolutions have been broken before February. How can you be part of the 9% who ultimately achieve their resolution goals? By addressing common barriers, implementing best practices, and leveraging available resources for education and support, you can turn your financial resolutions into a reality and build a solid foundation for a prosperous future.

One of the most common barriers to financial success is the absence of a well-defined plan. Without a roadmap, it's easy to lose sight of your goals and succumb to financial uncertainty. Make your goals clear and attainable by following the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) criteria. This approach helps you create a roadmap for success.

Perhaps the most critical piece of the plan is your budget. Develop a budget that reflects your income, expenses, and savings goals. Regularly review and adjust your budget to accommodate changes in your financial situation. Not having a budget makes it difficult to manage spending, save effectively, and allocate resources toward achieving specific goals.

By creating a realistic budget you are able to limit unnecessary purchases, and prepare for unexpected expenses through a budgeted emergency fund. Unexpected expenses can arise at any time. Without a sufficient emergency fund, individuals may find themselves relying on credit or dipping into savings meant for other goals. While at the same time, the temptation of impulsive purchases can derail even the most disciplined savers. Identifying and curbing unnecessary expenses is essential for staying on track.

To create a budget you can stick with, you need to first examine your current financial status and become knowledgeable of current debts, spending habits and saving opportunities. Understanding these basic financial concepts is crucial for making informed decisions. Whereas a lack of financial understanding can lead to poor choices regarding investments, savings, and debt management.

As you create your budget, consider strategies that are realistic for your specific financial situation. Set up automatic transfers to your savings account and automate bill payments to ensure you consistently contribute to your financial goals. Prioritize high-interest debts and develop a plan to pay them off systematically. This will free up more resources for savings and investments. If applicable, consider exploring investment options to grow your wealth over time.

While change can be difficult, you don’t have to tackle your financial resolutions on your own. Many nonprofit organizations and financial institutions offer free financial literacy programs to help individuals enhance their understanding of basic financial concepts. Seek advice from financial professionals to make informed investment decisions. Take advantage of these resources to get personalized advice and guidance.

Many resources are available to you online. Explore websites that provide valuable information on budgeting, saving, and investing. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers resources on financial education. Utilize online tools and apps that can assist you in creating and managing your budget effectively.

As you embark on your financial journey in the new year, remember that setting and achieving financial goals requires commitment, discipline, and ongoing effort, but they are achievable with a well-defined plan. May this new year bring you closer to financial success and well-being.

About Union State Bank: Founded in 1908, Union State Bank has banking locations serving communities of Arkansas City, Newton, Udall, Winfield, and Wichita in Kansas and in Bartlesville and Edmond, Oklahoma. Union State Bank offers a full range of electronic, deposit and cash management services, as well as business and agriculture, commercial real estate, construction, mortgage, residential and consumer loans. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender, NMLS# 412388.

Disclaimer: The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is recommended that individuals consult with financial professionals for personalized guidance on credit management.