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Don’t Forget Your Finances In Those New Year’s Resolutions

By Walter Laskos

According to Wikipedia, the “Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.”

The explanation offered by Wikipedia continues, saying that the tradition or making a resolution for the New Year has many other religious parallels.

“During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People can act similarly during the Christian liturgical season of Lent, although the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. Regardless of creed, though, the concept is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

“At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40% did. In fact, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), approximately 40% to 50% of Americans participate in making a New Year’s resolution. It should also be noted that the 46% of those who made common resolutions (e.g. weight loss, exercise programs, quitting smoking) were over ten times as likely to succeed, compared to only 4% who chose not to make resolutions.”

The posting then cites a few examples of New Year resolutions, which include:

  • Improve physical well-being: eat healthy food, lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, stop biting nails, get rid of old bad habits
  • Improve mental well-being: think positive, laugh more often, enjoy life
  • Improve finances: get out of debt, save money, make small investments
  • Improve career: perform better at current job, get a better job, establish own business
  • Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music), study often, read more books, improve talents
  • Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time, be more independent, perhaps watch less television, play fewer sitting-down video games

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When it comes to the Credit Unions of Rhode Island, they suggest that among your resolutions for 2018 you also might include one focused on improving your financial success. In fact, in the January edition of Better Banking, they offer “10 Tips for Financial Success in 2018,” courtesy of Greenwood Credit Union. Check it out. You may just want to make it your resolution for success in the New Year.

And by the way, Happy New Year from the Credit Unions of Rhode Island!