A Fidelity Investments study revealed that only 31 percent of Americans made financial resolutions for 2015, down 28 percent from the record high reported for 2014. The decline seems odd in light of the study’s additional finding that these resolutions, in fact, work. Specifically, 51 percent of the people who made a fiscal resolution at the start of 2014 now feel they are better off monetarily.

I firmly believe in the study’s “warning” that “making resolutions may improve your financial condition.” The opportune time to chart a fresh course to financial security and success is today. Use the New Year as a time to reflect, reset and rejuvenate your spending and savings habits for a financially sound future.

The three most popular resolutions, according to Fidelity, from the last four years are 1) save more, 2) pay off debts and 3) spend less. The easiest way to hold yourself to these goals is a trustworthy accountability partner. Among these partners, you should consider your local non-profit credit union as a financially savvy friend you can count on to have your best interests in mind.

Here are four tips to make and manage your financial resolutions in 2016:

  1. Embrace a security blanket

Life can be unpredictable. Make saving money a priority to assure you have the peace-of-mind of knowing you are prepared for an unexpected expense or interruption in income. This security blanket should cover at least three months of living expenses.

  1. Be financially “in the know”

Today’s financial technology has made managing your finances as easy as receiving a text. Utilize mobile apps like CardNav by CO-OP to set-up automatic alerts for unusual spending, fraud alerts and more. Mobile apps can help you stay within budget, keep bank statements on hand and even store electronic receipts so you can see where money is going.

 

  1. Automate, automate, automate

Never miss another credit card, insurance or car payment. Activate electronic bill pay on monthly expenses to save on late fees and, in turn, build good credit.

  1. Think long-term

Don’t let the foreseeable future determine the end-game. Contact your new accountability partner (a.k.a., your credit union) and discuss ways to achieve short-term financial goals without jeopardizing long-term security.

Credit unions exist for the financial betterment of their members and their communities. These institutions can help you make more informed financial decisions, gain access to the latest payments technology, offer lending and other services at advantageous rates and assist with members’ resolutions to live financially secure.

To learn more about the credit unions in your area, visit https://co-opcreditunions.org/locator/.

About by Author

Bill Prichard is Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications for CO-OP Financial Services (www.co-opfs.org), Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., a financial technology provider to credit unions. Prichard can be reached at (800) 782-9042, ext. 3450, or bill.prichard@co-opfs.org.