Almost all of my friends have resolved to save more money this 2012.
Indeed, financial resolutions is among the most popular that people make during the New Year.
However, the desire to simply “save more money” is often not enough.
That is because many people fail to translate that general resolution into concrete actions – tasks which you can apply on a practical level in your life.
Such is the lesson we can learn from Thomas, our guest blogger for today. Let’s read what he has to say on this topic below.
People make New Year’s resolutions about anything and everything: health, happiness, getting rid of an old habit. But what makes a truly effective New Year’s resolution?
Or, more specifically, how can you make a personal finance New Year’s resolution that’s sure to succeed?
First, don’t set too many goals at once. Don’t make too many resolutions.
In order to make a change, you have to focus on one thing. Make one specific personal finance goal to start with. Once you’ve completed that one goal or made the change, move on to the next one.
Second, you have to set reasonable goals. Start small. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big aspirations for the future; it just means setting attainable goals in the meantime. This will provide the base you need, and allow you to accomplish your bigger goals, step-by-step.
In sum, be wary of lofty New Year’s resolutions like this: Save More Money or Earn More Money. These are two goals that you can easily fail to achieve.
Instead, set yourself up for success with incremental goals. Incremental personal finance goals, such as building a regular system of saving, will help you achieve your overall goals faster.
So in the New Year, the best way to reign in your personal finance is to surround yourself with the best tools to achieve your goals. Where do you start?
In the U.S., savings accounts and checking accounts with online banks often have lower fees and higher interest rates than traditional consumer banks. Why? They aren’t tied to expensive real estate, so online banks themselves save money. This means lower fees for you.
Finding the best online bank will help you manage your money more efficiently: your money will be working for you, instead of the other way around.
To make sure that your money is working for you in the most efficient way, you’ll need to compare online banks. All banks, online or traditional consumer, offer different interest rates for accounts and have different fees.
Moreover, the best checking account is the one that has a high yield, a low minimum balance to open (as close to zero as possible), and no monthly fee.
Always compare banks and the services they offer before you make a final decision. For example, look at Charles Schwab, Ally, and ING Direct. All these U.S. banks are online checking accounts.
As for the best savings accounts, you also want to look for the highest possible interest rate (above 0.85 percent), a low balance to open (as close to zero as possible), and no monthly fee.
As another example, look at how we compare savings accounts from Ally, ING and Discover. These savings accounts are your best bet to meet the criteria listed above.
For both savings and checking accounts, look for ones that fit the rates listed above. Once you’ve armed yourself with information about the differences in these savings accounts, consider which ones fit your needs.
You’ll notice the overlap in the best online savings and checking accounts to consider listed above. These banks – Ally, Charles Schwab, Capital One and ING Direct – should be your top considerations.
When it comes to personal finance and New Year’s resolutions, arm yourself with information. Then, set reasonable goals. For Americans, considering an online bank with checking and savings accounts that will help you save money and earn money should be a top priority in the New Year.
This is a manageable goal, and an achievable New Year’s resolution.
This guest post is written by Thomas Samph of FindTheBest, an unbiased data-driven comparison engine designed to help you find the best; from ski resorts to non-profits.
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Photo credit: 401k
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