Canadians prioritize debt repayment for 10th straight year: CIBC poll
As the clock ticks closer to midnight, many Canadians will be kicking off the age-old tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. While some of these goals will be about cutting back on sugar, using that gym membership, or learning a new language, many resolutions may also involve improving financial habits.
According to a 2018 survey from Tangerine, 69 per cent of Canadians make New Year’s resolutions and nearly one-third of those who do (32 per cent) plan to improve their financial health.
However, it’s often easier to create resolutions than it is to stick with them.
To ensure people actually follow through with their New Year’s goals, Kelley Keehn, consumer advocate with FP Canada, recommends they look at their financial ambitions the same way they would view their weight-loss goals by counting “financial calories.”
“Number one, actually get on a scale and see where you are. Number two, start counting your calories, and number three, look at what are you going to do differently. It’s the exact same as your financial health,” Keehn told BNN Bloomberg in a phone interview.
“Write down your goals, create this awareness and connection to them. We are so incredibly busy, so by staying aware of what they are it keeps them top of mind.”
Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC, says for some people, setting a clear budget is key when sticking to a financial resolution.
“Resolutions are a good opportunity to set a budget and take a look at your finances,” Golombek said in a phone interview.
“It’s not going to be perfect. That’s the biggest issue that people have. It all comes down to the fact that you need to spend less than you make. People aren’t saving enough money for their children or for their retirement.”
To help keep up with these financial budgets, Julie Kuzmic, director of consumer advocacy at Equifax Canada, says people need to remember why they made the goal in the first place.
“I think it’s very important to keep your eyes on the prize, asking yourself every time you buy something: ‘Is this getting me closer or further away from my goal if I buy this?’” Kuzmic said in a phone interview.
But while many are focused on cutting back spending or paying off that credit card debt, Krista Kerr, CEO of Kerr Financial, says not every financial resolution has to be focused on the negatives.
“Don’t limit yourself to thinking about it as setting budgets and being frugal, there can be some positive resolutions too, whether you want to learn more about finances, educate yourself or even teach your kids about money,” she said in a phone interview.
“Focus on introducing healthy new habits rather than just the negative stuff you don’t want to do anymore. Recognize the positive reason why you are making the resolution in the first place and it will help you achieve success.”