Survey: Financial New Year's Resolutions Boost Piece of Mind

It's become a cliché that New Year's resolutions are made to be broken, but a new survey suggests those who began 2014 with a personal finance-themed resolution are ending the year in better financial shape.

It’s become a cliché that New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, but a new survey suggests those who began 2014 with a personal finance-themed resolution are ending the year with more financial piece of mind.

Fidelity Investments asked 2,014 adults about their financial goals for 2014 and how they fared. More than half (51%) of those who made a financial resolution at the start of the year now say they’re better off financially. Only 38% of those who didn’t make a resolution said the same.

Nearly three-quarters of those who made a resolution said they made it at least half-way to their goal in 2014. Twenty-nine percent of resolution-makers said they were completely successful. Accordingly, 42% of survey respondents said financial resolutions are easier to stick to than other common resolutions.

“These findings validate the importance of taking small steps to get to a more secure financial future,” said Lauren Brouhard, senior vice president of retirement at Fidelity. “Challenging yourself to save more and invest for the long term is not as hard as it may seem and can truly improve your piece of mind.”

In fact, “saving more” was the most common financial resolution of those surveyed, with 55% of respondents setting that goal. The median desired savings increase was $200 per month.

Aside from boosting savings, 20% said they have resolved to pay off debt in the new year, 17% said they want to spend less, and 14% said they want to develop a plan to reach long-term financial goals.

Though Fidelity’s survey found financial resolutions can be beneficial, the percentage of Americans making such goals is down—just 31% said they were considering a financial resolution in 2015, compared to 43% in 2014.

Brouhard said that statistic is troublesome given the apparent benefits of resolutions.

“Simple commitments such as saving more and paying off debt can have a tremendous impact on the financial and emotional well-being of a household,” she said. “The key to achieving your long-term goals and aspirations is creating a plan and sticking to it.”