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Financial New Year's resolutions you can actually stick to in 2024

Data shows more Americans will make financially-geared New Year's resolutions for 2024 than they did last year. An expert gives tips on how to keep those commitments.

Fidelity Investment's 2024 New Year's Resolutions study found two-thirds of Americans plan on making a financial resolution for the year ahead, but a whopping 92% said they are adjusting their goals based on the economic conditions of the past few years.

The top concern respondents cited in the survey was inflation, which has taken a toll on household budgets and left many people looking to reassess how they are managing their finances.

However, when money is tight, setting out a new plan can be a daunting task. So, FOX Business sat down with certified financial planner Holley Cary, vice president and senior financial planner at First Horizon Advisors, who laid out a set of financial resolutions people can actually stick to in 2024.


Cary recommends that before people begin planning their resolutions, to first know what they have as far as assets and debt, and to be realistic in setting goals.

If you do not have emergency savings built up, that is the place to start, according to Cary.

"Start with the emergency fund because if you don't have a cushion, then what's going to happen if something comes up and you need some money?" she asked. "You're going to turn to a credit card and then you're going to just keep digging a deeper hole."

This time of year, she recommends people look at their spending plans to see what can be cut or reduced, then build up savings by starting small. Set aside what you can, even if it's only a little bit at first, with the aim of eventually saving 10% of your income. It may take time, but by creating a habit of consistently socking that money away, a person will eventually build up the recommended six- to 12-months-worth of living expenses as a buffer.

Cary recommends assessing how much money each month or pay period can be freed up for savings and establishing a habit of "paying yourself" first, and considering those funds to be a fixed expense.

"Pay yourself first, just like paying your rent or your utilities," she said. "That payment to your savings account – or to whatever mechanism you have to start saving for emergencies – needs to come out like a fixed expense, and those fixed expenses come first."


The financial guru suggests setting up an automatic transfer from your paycheck into a savings account, so the savings occur on autopilot.

For people with debt to tackle, Cary recommends making a list of the debt you have in order to determine the best strategy for paying it down.

"One of the ways that you can free up some cash flow is to pay off some of the high interest rate credit cards, and contrary to popular belief, I always say tackle the lowest balance first…because that can be a success," she said. "Then maybe they tackle the bigger one or start saving for emergencies."

Cary recommends reviewing all expenses to see where things can be cut, and it can sometimes involve a little digging. 

Subscriptions for streaming services, publications, cell phone providers, even property and casualty insurance are all things that can be assessed. Many times, people will find they are paying for services they do not even use that can be cut off altogether, and services that are necessities can be shopped around for a better deal.

Many people start off the year committed to their resolutions, but after a few weeks or months, settle back into their old ways.

A great way to combat this, Cary says, is to find an accountability partner. Whether the person is a professional financial planner, or a friend or family member, find someone you can talk to about your plans, and it will raise your chances of success.

Cary says resolution-makers do not even need to share the specifics of their financial goals, but simply looping others in on your mission will encourage progress.


For example, a person who wants to cut expenses may ask their friends to help by no longer inviting them out for dinner or coffee, and instead meeting up at someone's home or going for a walk.

"Get that accountability partner on your side so they'll get on board, too," Cary said. "It's almost like a health and wellness journey."

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