An optimistic financial approach for 2022?

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It’s time to be optimistic about the future – that’s what the majority of respondents say for the 13th Annual New Year’s Financial Resolutions Study recently released by Fidelity (tinyurl.com/yckne2ja). Not only are 62% of Americans optimistic about the future, but 72% are confident that they will be better off financially in 2022.

I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year. And why not kick off the new year with a few financial resolutions, as the majority of respondents did? Their best choices? “Save more money” (43%), “Pay off debt” (41%) and “Spend less money” (31%).

One in two (51%) who plan to save more money in 2022 are pursuing long-term goals, such as retirement and healthcare.

Of course, if you’re a regular reader, you know I love hearing people save for their retirement. And I particularly like to hear that the majority (62%) of young people (age group 18 to 35) plan to increase their retirement savings in 2022. Their longer investor horizon gives them leverage than old people just don’t have: the math of composition.

While I’d love to see an even higher percentage, that’s still good news when it comes to young people, especially in light of a recent Bankrate.com poll (tinyurl.com/2s3drb97) who found that 52% of working Americans said they were behind on their retirement savings, with an additional 16% responding that they did not know whether they were on the right track or not.

Before I leave the topic of resolutions, the best, in my opinion, are the ones that are concrete enough that you can actually implement them.

This one’s for everyone: Four times a year, review your financial goals to see if you’re on track to achieving them. For this resolution to happen, schedule specific dates. For example, you will receive month-end statements for December during the first weeks of January. Mark your calendar for the second Wednesday after the end of each calendar quarter: January 12, April 13, July 13, October 12.

Here’s one for 401 (k) participants: Before January 7, review your 401 (k) to make sure you’re maximizing the business match. A recent MagnifyMoney survey (tinyurl.com/bddnpsuk) found that among American workers who contribute to their company pension plan, 12% do not invest enough to receive the full company contribution.

And another for parents of school-aged children: create a monthly “financial education day”. Pick the first Saturday of each month to participate in a financial literacy game. Pick financial topics that you would have liked to know more about when you were young.

For example, for school-aged children (Kindergarten to Grade 5), abcya.com offers Money Bingo (tinyurl.com/2swrr453) to sort the money and Dolphin Dash (tinyurl.com/5ak5mrbt) to count it. For students in grades five to eight, there are games like Hot Shot Business (tinyurl.com/4wjsj8fn), which teaches you how to start and run a business, and Break the Bank (tinyurl.com/3ecnym3m), where you can learn more about banking and debt. For high school students and beyond, offerings include Misadventures in Money Management (mimm.gov) and The Stock Market Game (tinyurl.com/32fr9y4w).

And another: before the end of January, sign up for Invest in You: Money 101 (tinyurl.com/2craaw52), a free eight-week program produced by CNBC and Acorns, the financial wellness app.

One last: Fidelity offers a quiz on the personality of money (tinyurl.com/y3xnnnkk), which can provide insight into why you make the financial decisions you make. Being optimistic about 2022 is a good thing. Better yet, reinforce that optimism by increasing your financial knowledge and that of your family.

Julie Jason, JD, LLM, Personal Fund Manager (Jackson, Grant of Stamford) and Author, welcomes your questions / comments ([email protected]). Its awards include the Clarion Award 2021, symbolizing excellence in clear and concise communications. Her latest book, an organized collection of The Columns of Julie, is “Retire Securely: Insights on Money Management From an Award-Winning Financial Columnist.” To hear Julie speak, visit juliejason.com/events.


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