When a new year comes, we must change the last two digits of the year when we write down the date, and we have to prepare to be one year older.
But some people mark the new year with a vow to change their life in some way. New Year’s Resolutions, mocked because people so rarely maintain them for more than a few weeks beyond the first day of the year, are still a standard behavior for people who want to make a valuable change to their lives and make that change a permanent part of their lives.
While New Year’s Resolutions often revolve around weight loss and dieting, some people use the calendar turn to mark a new day in their financial sphere.
Spectrem surveyed almost 900 wealthy investors and found that only 11 percent of them made financially-based resolutions to state 2019. Keep in mind that the year 2019 started with the government in the throes of a partial shutdown over President Donald Trump’s request for funds to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, and the previous year had just wrapped with a month-long decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average that eventually saw 4,000 points erased in a three-week period.
So staying the course would seem to be a brave action to take among wealthy investors.
The good news about the financial resolutions made on Jan. 1, 2019, is that many of them considered additional investing. Of those that said they made financial resolutions for 2019, 28 percent said they decided to invest more in the coming year.
On the other side of the coin, 21 percent of investors said they planned to save more and invest less. The turn of a page is a good time to reexamine investor decisions, and that resolution may have come after holding one’s breath through the freefall of December 2018.
Twenty-five percent said they were going to follow a budget in 2019, which makes you wonder how many times those investors have made that pledge.
There is other news regarding resolutions that advisors will want to know. Among those who said they made financial resolutions for 2019, 52 percent said they planned to share their resolution with someone who could help them achieve their goals, and that someone was more often than not their personal financial advisor (64 percent).
Those people who make weight loss pledges for the new year often fall by the wayside, because dieting is difficult. But financial resolutions also require a personal resolve that can be tested over time.
The investors were asked if they made financial resolutions for 2018, and only 9 percent did so, but of that 9 percent, 92 percent said they maintained their resolution throughout 2018.
Of course, a New Year’s resolution is a calendar trick to call upon humans to take stock of their lives, and such self-examination can take place at any time of the year. Still, investors like the idea of an annual reexamination of their financial goals and decisions.
Asked if they would like to have a “financial resolutions’’ conversation with their advisor at the beginning of each year, 36 percent agreed that was a good idea.
©2019 Spectrem Group