Friday, December 06, 2013

Start Your New Year’s Resolutions Now

Use this month to work the bugs out and test your will power.

Holiday parties are starting. Fruitcakes, cookies and chocolates are piling up in the office kitchen faster than the incomplete budget forecasts and year-end statements on your desk. Your nieces, nephews and grandchildren are texting you constant revisions to their Holiday gift lists.

Ah, the Holidays! Just get me through the next month, you say to yourself, and you’ll start hitting the gym again, lose 10 pounds, get your desk and hard-drive cleaned up and back on track for 2014.


You have to start NOW on those New Year’s resolutions and find a way to stick to them. Not to be a scrooge about December, but now’s the best time to test out your resolutions and work the bugs out so you can hit the ground running in January. You need to be brutally honest with yourself about your willpower, your stamina and how reasonable your goals are.

If you’re a couch potato, which resolution are you more likely to stick to—running a marathon in six months or walking/jogging for 20 minutes three times per week? Trust us, this works. You’ll feel better about yourself and probably look better, too the next time we see you.

Why resolutions don’t stick

While most of us sincerely intend to follow our New Year’s resolutions, most of the time we break them. According to researcher Richard Wiseman, half of all Americans set themselves a New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, about seven out of eight of those resolutions (88%) fail. Those ain’t great odds. As Wiseman once quipped, that’s about 156 million failed resolutions and disappointed minds each and every year!

The reasons for this high failure rate are many, but some of the leading causes are that we set goals that are too high or too audacious. We also tend to be impatient, sprinting out of the gate in search of immediate “returns” rather than taking “baby steps” that will take some time before they move the needle. We also have to make ourselves more accountable to our stated goals. If you tell some of your friends and family about the new tiny habit you’ve created, you are more likely to stick to it. What’s more, writing your goals down not only makes you more likely to stick to them, but the process increases your happiness and sense of empowerment.

Beating the odds

Trying to get your clients to modify their financial behavior in the new year can be quite challenging, too. But it can be highly rewarding if true changes result, said Dr. Glenn Freed of Los Angeles based Vericimetry Advisors LLC, who we’ve been working with for several years. “And you’ll further cement your status as a client’s most trusted advisor,” said Freed.
“Framing a legal, charitable or financial planning discussion around New Year’s resolutions can be quite effective for communicating with clients,” added Freed. “You can have discussions in person or through a client newsletter. The key is to use these resolutions as a way to check in with clients throughout the year. Here are some of Freed’s favorites:

1. Personal Resolution: Get in shape.
Financial Planning Resolution: Keep in financial shape by sticking to your financial plan; keep your portfolio in shape by staying disciplined and rebalancing.

2. Personal Resolution:
Quit smoking / give up bad habits.
Financial Planning Resolution: Quit chasing the “smoking hot” returns; avoid trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Today’s hot trend is all too often tomorrow’s toxic asset. Ultimately, bad habits are frequently destructive to your wealth (and your health).

3. Personal Resolution:
Learn something new.
Financial Planning Resolution: Be open to new investment approaches; consider new investment methodologies and asset classes; do not be satisfied with the status quo. Radical change is not required, but evolution can often be beneficial.
Glenn’s got plenty more he’d be happy to share with you at

Advisors help their clients follow up on resolutions not only in January, but throughout the year. Framing the financial planning discussion in this way at the start of the year and then following up consistently can be an effective way to help clients stay on the path to financial resolution success. Make 2014 a great year no matter what the markets, the economy and geopolitical factors throw at us.

But you’ve got to start NOW—not after the Holidays.

Our blog has more as well as the FREE Resources page of our website.

Tags: New Year’s Resolutions, Dr. Glenn Freed, Vericimetry Advisors LLC, financial planning resolutions


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