The New Year offers the perfect time for a fresh start and a renewed commitment to getting finances back on track after a season of spending—one where many Americans felt the effects of the pandemic on their wallets even before the onset of the holidays.
In fact, COVID-19 has already prompted consumers to start thinking differently about their finances. According to Lincoln Financial Group’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker, 59 percent say they are planning to make permanent changes to the way they spend and save due to the crisis. The findings went on to show that consumers’ top three financial concerns in today’s market include emergency savings (41 percent), having enough income in retirement (40 percent) and inflation (39 percent).
“Our research found consumers are especially interested in protection during times of financial uncertainty, which reinforces the need for financial planning,” said Sharon Scanlon, senior vice president, Customer Experience, Producer Solutions and Retirement Operations for Lincoln Financial Group. “Everyone has competing priorities but making a few easy adjustments can help people achieve their financial goals.”
Here are three simple financial resolutions Lincoln Financial recommends for 2022 to help strengthen consumers’ financial outlooks in the new year:
1. Review finances holistically. Ensure you evaluate the big picture—not just where you are spending, but where you are saving and protecting your future too. A simple budget will help you differentiate between needs and wants, enabling you to find areas to cut back or eliminate to find money to meet your financial goals, like retirement or emergency savings. Maximize online budgeting tools, calculators and other financial wellness resources available through your employer too.
2. Prepare for the unexpected. Without the right protections in place, an unexpected event can derail retirement savings, disrupt your ability to provide for your family or drive you into additional debt. Look into coverages like disability, accident and life insurance that may be available through your employer or consider an individual life insurance policy. Also, commit to funding your emergency savings account as part of your budget. And remember to think about how you would fund the cost of care if you or a loved one had a long-term care event.
3. Plan for the future. Start with your employer-sponsored retirement plan and commit to save at least up to the match, if available. If you already meet the match, resolve to increase your retirement contributions each year, or with each increase in pay. You don’t just need a retirement plan, though—you need a plan for retirement. Consider diversifying your portfolio with an annuity. Also, in-plan guaranteed income options can serve as a powerful tool to protect savings during periods of market volatility, while still benefiting you when the market goes up.
In addition to these resolutions, also consider meeting with a trusted financial professional who can help you identify solutions that best meet your individual needs and situation. Visit lfg.com for more tools and resources.
With a few proactive strategies, you can get 2022 started on the right financial foot.