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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Come 2014, expect resolutions focused on personal finances

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Mirroring the end-of-year vows of Americans nationwide, a new study reveals that more than one-third of Wisconsinites’ 2014 New Year’s resolutions will be connected to personal finances.

The survey, published by BMO Harris Financial Advisors, a unit of BMO Financial Group, finds that financial-related New Year’s resolutions trail only health and fitness resolutions (39 percent) and are ahead of:

  • Personal resolutions (learn a new skill, read more, etc.) — 24 percent;
  • Career resolutions (work more/less, get a promotion, etc.) — 13 percent;
  • Love life resolutions (start dating, get married, etc.) — 10 percent.

The study adds that just over a third (35 percent) of Wisconsinites will not be making a New Year’s resolution for 2014; and that 40 percent of Wisconsinites have a financial plan. Of this group:

  • 78 percent are confident their financial plan will help them achieve their goals;
  • 74 percent say a financial plan has helped them achieve their goals in the past;
  • 83 percent wish they would have created a financial plan sooner (compared to 61 percent nationally).

Of those Wisconsinites who do not have a financial plan, the most commonly cited reasons include:

  • Do not have enough money to justify having a financial plan (40 percent);
  • Never thought of doing a financial plan (30 percent);
  • It is not a priority (25 percent); and
  • Personal financial situation is too volatile (24 percent).

Among the survey’s national findings:

  • 68 percent of Americans will be making a New Year’s resolution for 2014;
  • Setting goals related to personal finances will account for 28 per cent of all resolutions made; other areas include health and finances (39 percent), personal goals (27 percent), love life (16 percent) and career (16 percent);
  • 53 percent who have made financial New Year’s resolutions in the past have kept them, with women being better than men at seeing them through (57 vs. 46 percent);
  • 44 percent of those Americans have a financial plan;
  • 85 percent of those with a financial plan believe that it has helped them achieve their goals;
  • The top reason identified for not having a financial plan is “do not have enough money to justify having one” (39 percent).