It's not too late to make these 6 money resolutions for a financially fit 2024

Here are six money resolutions Experian suggests considering in 2024.

Brianna McGurran
Posted 3/21/24

Here are six money resolutions Experian suggests considering in 2024.

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It's not too late to make these 6 money resolutions for a financially fit 2024

Here are six money resolutions Experian suggests considering in 2024.

Posted

couple going over finances on computer

Yuri A // Shutterstock

Setting resolutions can come with a lot of pressure, and with that pressure can come an all-or-nothing approach to New Year's resolutions: If you've fallen off track a couple months in, it's easy to feel like this year's goals are a total wash.

But if you're feeling discouraged, take heart. A recent Forbes Health/One Poll survey found that 75% of resolutions are abandoned within five months, and about half fail within just three months. In other words, if you've fallen off the resolution wagon, you're far from alone.

Luckily, there's no shame in starting fresh after the New Year's come and gone. Whether you haven't yet set goals for the year or need to adjust goals that aren't working for you, you don't have to wait until next year to start fresh. Here are six money resolutions from Experian that you can still put into action for 2024.

1. Gauge your financial resilience

Maybe you're feeling worried about your job security in response to continued layoffs across industries like tech, media and finance. Or maybe you're feeling optimistic and hoping to shore up your savings so you can buy a house, thanks to an expected drop in mortgage rates by the end of 2024. In either case, build resilience into your finances with these goals:

  • Strengthen your professional agility. Take steps now to make yourself an indispensable contributor to your industry. This can help you either in a job search in the future or at work now—if, for example, you plan to ask for a raise during the year. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile to show your most recent experience and skills. Look at ways to boost your appeal as a candidate or as a current employee, such as by pursuing an in-demand online certification.
  • Diversify your streams of income. If you're trying to save up or pay off debt, consider gigs you can turn to if you need extra income. For example, could you drive for a rideshare app? Freelance online? Make money tutoring, caring for children or animals, completing tasks or selling things you don't need? The best side hustle is one that allows you to bring in cash and build new skills, and is one that you enjoy doing too.
  • Boost your emergency fund. To build financial stability, there isn't any replacement for a flush emergency fund. Ideally, you want enough cash to cover your basic needs for three to six months in the event of a loss of income. But set a small goal and prioritize learning how to build your emergency fund strategically if you're starting from scratch.
  • Seek financial advice. If you're unsure of how to plan financially for the year ahead (and beyond), consider reaching out to a reputable financial advisor or certified credit counselor to help chart your course. Ultimately, your goal isn't just to make it through the year in one piece—it's to thrive financially long term.

2. Tackle high-interest debt

The average consumer credit card balance grew to $6,501 in 2023. That's a 10% increase from 2022's $5,910 balance. Average personal loan balances grew from $18,255 in 2022 to $19,402 in 2023, a 6.3% increase year over year. These types of debt tend to charge significantly higher rates than mortgages or auto loans, for instance.

If you have outstanding debt, make 2024 the year you bring it way down. To save the most money, focus on high-interest debt first, like credit cards and some types of personal loans.

You may be able to save on interest by consolidating your debt or negotiating down your interest rate with the help of a debt management plan through a nonprofit credit counseling agency. Or you can choose to pay off the debt on your own using a strategy like the debt snowball or avalanche method.

3. Revamp your budget

A budget is a fluid thing, meant to change and adapt to your current circumstances. Evaluate whether your budget is working for you, if you have one; if not, explore budgeting strategies to try.

When assessing your current budget, consider: Are you content with how much you're saving and how much is going toward existing debts right now? Do you have enough to pay the bills, and enough to enjoy yourself and pursue your hobbies? If not, adding more income or reducing expenses are good places to start.

4. Give your insurance coverage a checkup

Your insurance policies might seem carved in stone, but it's possible to switch coverage and save money. Do an insurance audit each year. That way, you can make sure you're still getting the best rates and have the right type of coverage for you. Look into these types of insurance in 2024:

  • Life insurance: If you have dependents or substantial assets in your name, life insurance is essential. The amount of coverage you need depends on your income, assets, debts and your family's specific circumstances.
  • Car insurance: Even if you already have auto insurance, comparing quotes once or twice a year is a smart way to make sure you have the cheapest policy you qualify for. You can try Experian's tool for comparing auto insurance to ensure you're getting the best rate. You can also look for other ways to reduce your car insurance costs.
  • Homeowners insurance: The same goes for homeowners insurance. Whether you bought a new home in 2023, you refinanced or you've had the same policy for a while, compare options across several insurers to find the best price and coverage out there.
  • Travel insurance: If you're planning to travel in 2024, consider taking out a travel insurance policy, or look into insurance your credit card offers when you use it to book travel. That way, you're protected from all sorts of vacation mishaps, such as lost baggage, rental damage and even illness.

When buying new insurance, you might first consider a policy through a company where you're already a customer in case any discounts, such as bundling your auto and home insurance, are available. Then compare your quote with multiple other insurers so you're not missing out on a better deal.

5. Boost your retirement savings

Fast ways to ramp up retirement savings include depositing one-time windfalls—like a tax refund, tax credit or signing bonus at a new job—directly into your 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA). If you're not already taking advantage of an employer match with your workplace retirement plan, save at least as much to capture that match. And if you're looking for a new job, prioritize offers from employers that offer strong retirement savings options, including matching contributions.

You can still set aside money for retirement as a self-employed individual or when you're between jobs and aren't sure when you'll be employed full-time again. Options include a solo 401(k) or a traditional or Roth IRA.

Take a look back at your budget to double-check how much you can afford to save for retirement, and calculate how much you'll likely need. Many experts say it's ideal to set aside 10% to 15% of your pretax income each year. It may not be feasible to save that much right away, or that may even be too much for your goals. Make 2024 the year that you determine what your personal savings goal is—and start meeting it.

6. Improve your credit

Your credit score is a major determining factor in how soon you can meet many financial goals, and in how affordable borrowing money will be. With a good credit score, you could have a better chance at low rates on loans such as a mortgage, car loan or private student loan; credit cards that earn lucrative travel rewards; and lower car insurance rates in states where insurers use credit-based insurance scores to provide quotes.

The average FICO score reached 715 in 2023, up one point from the third quarter (Q3) of 2022.

The bottom line

Early in the year, there's so much potential to set and pursue financial goals. Keep that momentum going all year long by following your progress and rewarding yourself when you hit a milestone, such as saving a certain amount, paying off debt or reaching a particular credit score. Be kind to yourself if you don't quite reach the goals you've aimed for, and know that there's no wrong time to set new goals in pursuit of the financial life you want to live.