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Setting financial goals is an important part your financial well-being, but a recent study suggests that attaining those goals can be quite difficult.
Capital One Bank recently surveyed 1,508 Americans that were all 18 years of age or older to determine if Americans are accomplishing their financial goals for 2015. According to the survey, only 34 percent of respondents felt they accomplished some of their financial goals in 2015.
With the New Year upon us, there is no better time for individuals to reflect on what worked for their wallets, and what didn’t.
ConsumerTrends from the Capital One Survey
- Debt Down, Savings Up. For nearly one-third of respondents, paying off debt is the number one financial goal to improve their financial well-being in 2016, with growing their savings coming in as a close second. Although sticking to a monthly budget would help Americans chip away at debt and increase how much they save, it’s only a top goal for 17% of respondents.
- Resolutions Close to Home. Finances and family are top of mind, and of equal importance, for Americans when looking ahead to 2016 – all the reason to make financial planning a family affair. Health closely followed finances and family as an area of focus for 2016. One common New Year’s resolution, fitness, was a top focus for only 13% of respondents.
- Future Forward. Almost a quarter of respondents (73%) view their financial goals as motivation for the future, so making them realistic and achievable can keep that motivation from quickly fading out. More than half of respondents want to complete their annual financial goals as soon as they can, while thirty percent admit they simply go with the flow and don’t set a date for achieving their financial goals.
- Room for Improvement. Only 1/3 of respondents admit to accomplishing their financial goals in 2015, indicating a need for products and tools to help Americans succeed at their financial goals for 2016. Approximately 20 percent of respondents felt they accomplished none of the financial goals they set in 2015, while 34 percent feel that they only accomplished some of their financial goals. Almost half (43%) of respondents felt that a monthly progress tracker would be the most helpful digital tool for achieving financial goals for 2016
How to Stick to your Financial Resolutions
Maintaining your financial resolutions for 2016 will certainly require some discipline, but you should also take advantage of the numerous tools and resources at your disposal. Here are a few tips to help you stick to your resolutions this New Year:
- Take advantage of a balance transfer credit card: Since eliminating debt is a top priority for many respondents, starting the New Year with 0% APR on balance transfers could be the perfect place to start. Credit cards such as Chase Slate® or the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card are both great options because they offer long intro periods of no interest and minimal fees.
- Utilize free services: For consumers looking to build their credit score over the next year, free credit monitoring services can help you track your credit rating from month to month and offer tips on how you can boost your score. Popular budgeting websites like Mint.com can also help you track your finances by linking all of your accounts to one place. These resources have dozens of tools to help you track your spending, set goals and monitor your progress.
- Don’t set unrealistic expectations: If you keep finding it way too hard to meet your financial goals, then perhaps you’re setting your sights too high. Start out with goals that are well within your means, and once you’ve built up some confidence in your financial prowess, move on to bigger, more demanding goals. Victory will lead to more victory!
For more insight into the survey, check out the Capital One New Year, New Financial Goals Infographic!