Getting out of debt is the most common year-end personal financial goal

A new survey from Annuity.org looked at which financial habits Americans were most interested in starting before the end of 2022.

The Annuity.org survey asked 300 participants, “What is one personal finance habit you want to start by the end of 2022?” Respondents could choose from four common financial priorities: opening an investment account, starting an emergency fund, creating a monthly budget, or getting out of debt.

Poll Results

The most popular answer, chosen by 29% of respondents, was get out of debt. With household debt rising to over $16 trillion in the second quarter of 2022, it’s clear why so many Americans are prioritizing debt relief.

The second most popular financial habit that respondents hoped to achieve before the end of the year was starting an emergency fund, which was chosen by 21% of respondents, while 13% of respondents chose to create an monthly budget as first choice. Both habits are cornerstones of financial well-being, as they help you understand where your money is going and save for unexpected expenses.

Another 10% of survey participants said they plan to open an investment account in 2022. Investing can help safeguard your financial future by increasing your wealth faster than inflation rises. The earlier you invest, the longer your investment will have to grow.

Finally, 27% of respondents indicated that they have another financial habit in mind or are not sure what to choose.

Develop the habits of financially successful people

When you’re ready to begin your debt relief journey, start by figuring out where you stand.

“The first step I would recommend you take if you’re trying to get out of debt is to really assess the situation,” said Gerri Detweiler, a credit and debt relief expert and educator who spoke to Annuity.org. “Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot of people and they really don’t know for sure how much they owe or what they’re paying in terms of interest rates or total monthly payments.”

But prioritizing debt relief is just one of many ways to boost your personal financial well-being before 2023. There are other simple habits to adopt that can help set you on the path to financial stability.

Johns Hopkins University experts recommend setting and sticking to financial goals as the first step in creating a personal financial plan. Goals can be big, like buying a house, or smaller, like saving up for a new phone or a vacation. Choosing goals that are important to you will help motivate you to manage your money more wisely.

There are other habits you can try to help you be more mindful of your spending. For example, making a list before you go shopping can help you avoid overspending on things you don’t need.

When creating a budget, set aside money for needs and wants, and think about how your regular expenses fit into those categories. You can follow the 50/30/20 rule for budgeting, which allocates 50% of your monthly income to needs and 30% of your income to wants.

With this method, the remaining 20% ​​goes to savings, whether it’s putting money into a high-yield savings account or investing it in a retirement account.

Allocating a portion of every paycheck to savings is a wise financial habit to adopt. Experts recommend putting that money away as soon as it hits your account before you try to spend it instead.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any financial decisions.

Last edit: November 21, 2022

3 research papers cited

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  1. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (2022, August). Quarterly report on household debt and credit. Retrieved from https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/interactives/householdcredit/data/pdf/HHDC_2022Q2
  2. Johns Hopkins University. (nd). Develop good habits for financial stability and success. Retrieved from https://fa.som.jhmi.edu/financial-fitness/articles/Developing-Good-Habits-for-your-Financial-Stability-and-Success.php

  3. Raheja, MK (2021, March 23). How do I develop good financial habits? Retrieved from https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/be-centsible/2021-03-23-how-do-i-make-good-financial-habits

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