2024 Personal Finance Resolutions

Every year, Ilyce and Sam offer their readers New Year’s resolutions for home buyers, sellers and their personal finances. These are their 2024 Personal Finance Resolutions.

Have you made your 2024 Personal Finance Resolutions yet? Before you do, consider this: Are we in a Silent Depression or a booming economy?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, in 2020, Americans have experienced the economic effects on what we all hope is a once in a lifetime pandemic: employment fell by a combined 22.4 million in March and April of that year, or 15 percent. “By contrast, in the previous four employment downturns since 1981, job losses averaged 3 percent, with the largest decline (6 percent) occurring during the Great Recession of 2007–09,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It felt severe and frightening, especially since the vast majority of the world was shut down. We were in our homes, watching our screens, unsure of whether we needed to wipe down our groceries.

2024: a new year for your personal finances

More than three years later, the economy seems to have fully recovered. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. economy grew at a blistering 4.9 percent annualized pace in the third quarter of 2023. By November, 2023 there were 4.7 million more jobs than in February 2020, just before the pandemic began, notes the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.

So, why are so many people struggling? According to a new LendingClub report, 62 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. That’s about the same as last year.

But there’s something new in a generation of TikTokers describing our economy as a silent depression. There’s a sense of economic hopelessness, that the Great American Dreams of homeownership and that our kids can and will live better lives than we have has dissipated, and is now unavailable.

Is 2024 a booming economy or a “silent depression?”

A lot of this seems to stem from the high inflation coupled with high housing prices that emerged in the wake of the pandemic recession. We described that phenomenon as the “never befores.” Never before had:

  • Interest rates jumped up so quickly.
  • Home values skyrocketed so quickly.
  • Both of these things happened simultaneously.

We get it: It’s a lot more expensive to buy a home now. And, because we’re still 4 million homes short of what we need, according to the National Association of Realtors chief economist, Lawrence Yun, housing inventory is scarce. It’s tough to find something you want to buy at a price you can afford.

But feeling like we’re in a silent depression negates the actual horrors of the Great Depression. According to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum website, during the Great Depression, nearly 25 percent of America’s total workforce was unemployed for years, not months. The website states: “Prices and productivity fell to approximately one-third where they had been in 1929. Wage income for workers who were lucky enough to have kept their jobs fell 42.5% between 1929 and 1933. Farm prices fell so fast that many farmers lost their homes and land. People went hungry.”

2024: A time to take small steps toward a better financial future

Changing mindsets is not an easy task. The only way we know how to do it is to take it step-by-step. Make small changes that are easy to implement and likely to stick. If you make one small change each month, by the end of 2024, you’ll find your finances are in better shape.

With that, consider these New Year’s Personal Finance Resolutions:

2024 Personal Finance Resolution #1: Set your financial goals for the year.

Setting goals is important directionally. If you don’t have a concrete goal in mind, such as saving $1,000, paying off a credit card, or buying a house, it’s less likely these goals will become reality.

2024 Personal Finance Resolution #2: Tighten your belt wherever you can

If you’re serious about saving money and achieving personal financial goals, then you also have to get serious about your spending. Track your spending and find places to save. Ilyce often recommends her “Go to Zero” spending plan, where you take every expense off the table and then put your monthly check toward the highest priorities, including rent or mortgage payments, insurance premiums, childcare or other expenses for children, food, and utilities. Everything beyond that goes into savings.

2024 Personal Finance Resolution #3: Develop extra income

If you can’t tighten your belt further, then it’s time to find some extra income. There are hundreds of ways to make some extra cash. SideHusl.com is a website run by former syndicated columnist Kathy Kristof that rates and reviews more than 450 ways to make more money.

2024 Personal Finance Resolution #4: Raise your credit score

Interest rates on credit cards are in the 20 percent range – and they’re even higher if you have a lower credit score. Raising your credit score will get you better deals on debt consolidation loans, lower auto loans and a lower mortgage interest rate. Log onto Experian, Equifax and TransUnion’s websites and set up a free account (no credit card required) to take a look at your credit report and credit score. (Once you’re there, consider freezing your credit, which is free and easy at each of the websites.)

2024 Personal Finance Resolution #5: Learn something new about investing

The more you know about money, the better financial decisions you’ll make. So, here’s our offer for 2024: On my website, ThinkGlink.com, you can sign up for a free version of my financial wellness program, Best Money Moves. It offers more than 1,000 pieces of content, tools, and journeys, and other things to learn about money. (This offer is good through January 2024.)

We wish you a very happy New Year! 

Want more New Year’s Resolutions?

2024 Home Buyer Resolutions

2024 Home Seller Resolutions

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©2024 by Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. A1618