Plan to Improve Your Finances in 2017

With the turn of the calendar, it’s the perfect occasion for many Americans to think about doing things differently starting on Jan. 1.

And while the idea of making a New Year’s resolution may sound hokey or cliché, a recent survey from investing giant Fidelity shows that simply making a plan to improve in the coming year can be an important part of your overall financial health.

Fidelity surveyed more than 2,000 Americans and found that, of those who made financial resolutions, 52% felt they were better off financially, while only 41% of those who didn’t make a plan a year ago felt they got ahead. Similarly, 52% of folks who made a financial resolution in 2016 felt confident about their finances improving in the coming year vs. just 37% of those who didn’t make a plan.

The top resolution cited in the survey was to save more, with half of respondents reaching for that goal. But whatever your plan, the simple act of making any financial resolution is good sign you’re on the path to more secure finances, said Ken Hevert, senior vice president of retirement at Fidelity.

“Sometimes, a financial resolution doesn’t require a cash outlay,” Hevert said, pointing to things like learning more about the investment options in your 401(k) and rebalancing your portfolio.

Other than simply saving more or spending less, which are common and practical goals, here are a few other financial resolutions to consider in 2017:

Save 100% of bonuses and raises: If you want to save for retirement or a new home, the easiest way is to simply divert the extra money you get from raises or bonuses, said Travis Sollinger, director of financial planning at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Compare insurance quotes: Many folks don’t think about insurance if they’re not filing a claim, but it’s worth comparing rates in 2017 . “Every several years, review insurance policies or shop them around to get bundled or better deals,” said Bill Van Sant, managing director at Girard Partners in Souderton, Pa.

Review documents: If you haven’t made a will or medical power of attorney documents, make this the year you craft them. And if they already exist but you haven’t reviewed them in a decade, then take the time to ensure they reflect your present situation.

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