‘Start small’: Financial planner offers tips for being fiscally fit in 2022

Money

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As we move into 2022, you may have some New Year’s resolutions on your mind, like being more active or eating healthier.

Fidelity Investments’ 2022 Financial Resolutions Study, which takes a look at how Americans feel about their finances heading into the new year, showed that 68% of respondents are considering a financial resolution for the new year, with the top responses being saving more money and paying down debt.

Donna Sowa Allard, a certified financial planner with Sowa Financial Group, said starting to save for the future can have a big impact over time.

“It’s a great time to look at your money and say, ‘What did my portfolio and savings do over the last year?'” she told 12 News.

Sowa Allard said it’s ideal to put between 15–20% of income toward savings.

“That can be a mix of money going towards retirement and into other savings like building your emergency fund, just cash in the bank, or savings in a brokerage account that you’re investing,” Sowa Allard explained.

If that amount seems too big, she said it’s OK to start small.

“Statistically, you’re far more likely to increase your savings over time if you start small than if you simply wait until you feel that you are ready,” she added.

Fidelity’s study also found that exercising more and eating more nutritiously are among the top things Americans want to do for themselves this year.

“Don’t discount the other investments outside of traditional investment accounts that you can make in yourself that lead to a healthier, wealthier life down the line,” Sowa Allard said, adding that taking classes can help improve skills and lead to a raise or a better job.

She also suggested taking advantage of your employers’ 401(k) match.

“Your employer is considering that as part of a compensation and if you don’t put enough away to get the match, you’re basically telling your employer, ‘Hey, you can keep some of that money you were going to give me,'” she said.

As for maxing out an individual IRA or a Roth IRA account, Sowa Allard said to “make sure the money that you want to put away is going in on an automatic basis, so you don’t have to make a decision every time you make the savings.”

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