6 Financial Non-Resolutions for the New Year

Eagle Wealth Management |

Hello Eagle Wealth Community,

We hope you had a wonderful and safe holiday.  As we begin a new year we’d like to start with honest expectations and a plan for where we’d like to go next.  Will you join us?  

It’s no secret that most New Year’s Resolutions don’t come to fruition.  A recent study showed that of participants who set resolutions, at one week into the new year, 77% of participants had maintained their resolutions; the number decreased to 55% after one month, 43% after three months, 40% after six months, and 19% at the two-year follow-up.  So, we propose rather than setting avoidance-oriented resolutions, let’s instead set achievable approach-oriented goals.

Health-related goals are usually at the top of the list, but what about your finances?  The health of your accounts, spending habits, and investments are just as important to evaluate.  When it comes to your financial life this year (and beyond) here are some tips to help you stay on track to reach your goals.

Turn Your Dreams into Goals
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Whether you’re opening your own business, taking a trip around the world, or even just aiming to pay for part of your kids’ college tuition, the hard part is taking those big ideas and turning them into something actionable. Financial goals operate like any other goal in that they greatly benefit from being well-defined, written, and planned.  SMART goals are a common way to organize your ideas.  This system asks you to create goals that are: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable or agreed-upon
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

Taking a big dream and breaking it down into something that features clear-cut amounts and is tied to a certain time can be difficult, but that’s the purpose of SMART goals—to make you think with intention about your goals before agreeing to them.  Take a blank piece of paper and write out a few versions of the same goal, and then talk it over with someone you trust before solidifying the goal(s) you’re going to stick to.  (Hint: You can talk these over with the Eagle Wealth team). 

Search It
Want to make a financial goal but aren’t quite sure where even to start?  Surf the internet to get some crowd-sourced inspiration and then adapt them to your personal situation.  Search “financial mindset” or “ideas for financial goals” to get your brainstorm going.  You can also look to your social media networks, asking your digital community examples of their personal finance intentions.

Baby Steps
Credit card debt, international travel, and charitable giving can be huge numbers at face value.  But if you break down these numbers into smaller portions, paying for these items can feel more manageable.  Start by saving an easily manageable amount each week.  Even after a few months, the savings will add up to a number that can cut away at the greater goal. 

Schedule Regular Check-ins
New Year’s celebrations only happen once a year, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until the end of December to review and reevaluate.  Set calendar reminders to review your financial goals.  Create a schedule that makes sense for your monetary goals; whether it’s once a week, monthly, or quarterly.  During these review sessions be thorough and honest with your progress and setbacks.  Make sure to keep your financial team in the loop if you notice any patterns or roadblocks.

Accept that Slip-Ups Can Happen
Even well-constructed goals have setbacks.  You’re not a perfect person, and it’s not fair to hold yourself to unrealistic standards.  Failure can happen, and if it does, that’s okay.  Don’t beat yourself up and assume that your goals are unattainable because of a setback.  Instead, find ways to motivate yourself and make the journey to your goals easier.

As an example, let’s say you want to save for retirement at a better rate than in previous years.  Maybe may want to try setting up automatic deposits, and then tell yourself you’ll treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant once you hit a certain milestone.  Building a reward system may make the journey more enjoyable.

Embrace Technology
Your smartphone, tablet, and laptop are always nearby, so use them!  There’s a wealth of financial apps out there to help you set and track your financial progress toward goals.  For a low monthly fee or even free, you can have a personal budget tracker in your pocket that assists you on a daily basis.  Turn on notifications to be reminded of your goals and current progress throughout the day.  It can help keep your goals top of mind well after the initial new year motivation has passed.

We hope you begin this new year with big dreams.  We’ll be here every step of the way.  We look forward to another of year of hearing about your upcoming ambitions and helping you build the confidence to reach them.

Your Eagle Wealth Team

The Week on Wall Street

Stocks closed out the year on a mostly positive note, adding to the year’s gains as concerns about the economic issues of Omicron infections receded.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.08%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 0.85%. The Nasdaq Composite index was flat (-0.05%) for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, posted an increase of 0.80%.1,2,3

Stocks Notch Record Highs

The end of the year is historically a strong period for stocks–a seasonal pattern dubbed “The Santa Claus Rally.” This year’s final week of trading did not disappoint as stocks posted healthy gains to kick off the week, despite a global increase in Omicron infections. Investors were buoyed by data that showed fewer associated hospitalizations, which helped ease fears of the variant’s economic impact.

The S&P 500 set multiple fresh record highs, with Wednesday’s new high representing the 70th such high in 2021, while the Dow Industrials recorded its first new record since November. Stocks drifted on low trading volume in the final two trading days of the year, capping a good week, a solid month, and a strong year for investors.4

Robust Holiday Sales

The market got off to a good start last week in part due to a strong holiday sales report. A major credit card issuer reported that consumer holiday spending rose 8.5% from last year’s levels, driven by an 11.0% gain in online sales. It was the biggest annual increase in 17 years. The spending by consumers exceeded pre-pandemic sales by 10.7%. The retail categories that experienced the highest sales increases were apparel (+47.3%) and jewelry (+32.0%).5

It was a particularly robust number in view of investor concerns about supply chain disruptions, port congestion, labor shortages, and wavering consumer confidence.


Key Economic Data

Tuesday:  JOLTS (Job Openings and Turnover Survey). Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Factory Orders. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Non- Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Friday: Employment Situation.

Source: Econoday, December 31, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

Companies Reporting Earnings

Thursday:  Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ), Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA), Conagra Brands (CAG).

Source: Zacks, December 31, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.