We’re hardly one month into 2016 and, for many of us, it’s already been difficult to stick to our New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s getting in shape or fixing financial woes, it’s easy to fall back into the same routine after the excitement of the New Year fades into the monotony of January and February. So, how do we get off this hamster wheel of picking a new goal just to watch it go unanswered? These are the “Three A’s” that will serve as a roadmap for consumers in addressing financial resolutions for 2016 – awareness, affordability and automation:
1. Awareness: Being naïve about your financial situation is no longer an acceptable excuse. In 2016, we have access to an unquantifiable amount of information. Blissful ignorance about how your credit card spending is racking up huge interest fees or the availability of proper budgeting tools is a thing of the past. Just like the saying goes, knowledge is power.
It is critical to learn as much as you can about your current situation in order for it to improve. In today’s economic and technological climate, companies can (and should) provide you with the highest level of transparency. Banks, credit card companies and other financial businesses also benefit by establishing customer loyalty by providing clear-cut service information. In turn, their customers can easily identify their problems and determine a solution.
2. Affordability: After fully understanding your current financial situation, you can begin learning how to budget. Creating a physical budget is even simpler today. With various apps and programs available, you can be more aware of your spending habits. It might sound relatively easy to make a budget, but the hard part is sticking to it.
It is important to set specific spending limits. Also, look at how you spend your money – not just what you spend your money on. For example, take a look at a program’s fee structure to confirm you are not being overcharged. Always dig a little deeper when determining if a certain payment plan, credit card or bank is the right fit. You need businesses that are straightforward and transparent about their fees to properly manage your finances. Don’t settle for anything less than stellar customer service.
3. Automation: The reality of 2016 is that technology rules over almost everything we do, so use this constant connectivity for your own benefit. The automation of the financial industry provides us with streamlined channels to quickly manage expenses.
Ease of use is critical in reaching any New Year’s resolution. We are more likely to maintain and manage our spending because it is as simple as picking up your phone. Today’s on-the-go consumer needs better online and mobile tools that efficiently support their efforts. In order to keep up and sustain your hard work, you must be willing to adopt these new products as they continue to evolve.
While looking to fix your finances in 2016, the bottom line is you must break any bad habits that brought you here. If you find yourself low on cash and disorganized after the holidays, know that there are services out there to help you. The easiest way to start is with a little introspection. After truly understanding your habits and all available tools, you can effectively choose the right path toward financial stability. These simple lessons can guide you in the right direction to make 2016 the year of finally achieving your New Year’s financial resolutions.
Bobbi Leach Bio
Bobbi Leach is the CEO of FuturePay, an e-commerce payment solution for the omnichannel shopper. FuturePay’s buy now, pay later option benefits businesses and consumers alike by offering shoppers instant credit while shopping online or on mobile devices without the high interest fees associated with using a credit card.