Decreasing debt tops most consumers' New Year's resolution lists.
A December poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website, www.DebtAdvice.org, revealed 69% of more than 3,200 respondents chose this goal over other objectives such as increasing savings (7%), improving their credit score (18%) or decreasing their dependence on credit cards (7%).
"It is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of people chose decreasing debt as a priority as they enter the New Year," said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. "The challenge now lies in turning that goal into a reality."
To help consumers meet their financial resolutions the NFCC offered the following tips.
Define your objective. Be specific about which area of your financial life you want to address. Success is more likely if you identify one problem and take the necessary steps to rectify it. You can always add more categories, but taking on too much at once can be overwhelming and lead to becoming discouraged.
Be willing to pay the price. Be prepared to make significant lifestyle adjustments in order to reach your goal. Changes, even those that are ultimately positive, can be difficult.
Be ready for setbacks. Setbacks are inevitable, so anticipate them and commit to riding them through. There is nothing to be gained by quitting.
Have an accountability partner. Share your goal with a trusted friend, family member or mentor, asking them to provide the support that will help you stay determined.
Celebrate your success. It is helpful to establish a reward as you begin your financial journey.
"Resolutions typically come and go. No one intends to make it only to break it. Nonetheless, that's what so often happens," said Cunningham. "The above five steps should go a long way toward reaching that previously elusive financial goal, putting you in a much better position."