More Americans committing to financial resolutions for 2014

A record number of Americans – 54 percent -- are ringing in 2014 with financial resolutions, according to a survey from Fidelity Investments. Survey respondents with financial plans said their top three financial resolutions are: saving more (54 percent), paying off debt (24 percent), and spending less (19 percent).

There’s no doubt these are all good resolutions. If you commit to all three, you’ll have more money with which to generate retirement income, and your spending needs in retirement will be lower if you pay off debts now and learn to live within your means.

But can you make these resolutions stick? Twenty-nine percent of survey participants confess that they had made financial resolutions in the past but were unable to stick with them.

Ken Hevert, vice president of retirement products at Fidelity Investments, has three suggestions to help you keep your resolutions this time around:

  • Find a way to calculate the concrete results of your savings so you can, for example, see that you’re on track to meet your retirement goals.
  • Look for ways to give yourself a small reward for saving.
  • Break down big goals into small, actionable steps. For example, separate the task of learning how much to save from learning how to invest your savings, and work on each separately.

In addition, if you’re part of a married or committed couple, doing it together and agreeing on common goals will significantly increase your chances of success. And you can make your research more efficient by dividing up the actionable goals. For those of you who like to keep on track with a step-by-step plan, Fidelity offers a month-to-month guide to help you keep your financial resolutions in 2014.

If you want a comprehensive guide to planning your retirement, check out my free, online retirement planning guide that gives you a week-by-week plan for your lifestyle, health, and financial security. Join your friends and neighbors who are starting 2014 on the right track!

  • Steve Vernon On Twitter»

    View all articles by Steve Vernon on CBS MoneyWatch»
    Steve Vernon helped large employers design and manage their retirement programs for more than 35 years as a consulting actuary. Now he's a research scholar for the Stanford Center on Longevity, where he helps collect, direct and disseminate research that will improve the financial security of seniors. He's also president of Rest-of-Life Communications, delivers retirement planning workshops and authored Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck and Recession-Proof Your Retirement Years.

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