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Poll Finds Decreasing Debt #1 Financial New Year’s Resolution

 The December poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, www.DebtAdvice.org, revealed that decreasing debt was consumers’ number one financial New Year’s Resolution. Sixty-nine percent of more than 3,200 respondents chose this goal over other worthwhile objectives such as increasing savings, improving their credit score or decreasing their dependence on credit cards.

 The actual poll question and results are as follows:

 My #1 New Year’s resolution for 2011 is to:

A. Decrease debt = 69 percent

B. Increase savings = 7 percent

C. Improve my credit score = 18 percent

D. Decrease my dependence on credit cards = 7 percent

To assist consumers in following through with their financial resolution, regardless of which they selected, the NFCC offers the following tips:

                         Define your objective – Be specific about which area of your financial life you want to address. Having an overall goal of improving your financial situation is too broad. Success is more likely if you identify one problem and take the necessary steps to rectify it. You can always add more categories, but taking on too much at once can be overwhelming and lead to becoming discouraged.

                        Be willing to pay the price – As they say, nothing worth having comes easily. Be prepared to make significant lifestyle adjustments in order to reach your goal, knowing that the sacrifice will be worth it. Changes, even those that are ultimately positive, can be difficult. Knowing this up front will help you persevere.

                        Be ready for set-backs – When the going gets rough, don’t give up your goal. Set-backs are inevitable, so anticipate them and commit to riding them through. There is nothing to be gained by quitting.

                        Have an accountability partner – Holding yourself accountable is one thing, but having someone else hold your feet to the fire can often mean the difference between success and failure. Share your goal with a trusted friend, family member or mentor, asking them to provide the support that will help you stay determined.

                        Celebrate your success – It is helpful to establish a reward as you begin your financial journey. Keeping your eye on the prize can serve as a great incentive to keep going. And, once you meet your goal, you’ve certainly earned a reward.

 Resolutions typically come and go. No one intends to make it only to break it. Nonetheless, that’s what so often happens.  The above five steps should go a long way toward reaching that previously elusive financial goal, putting you in a much better position at this time next year.

 If you need help making your New Year’s Resolutions come true, reach out to a trained and certified NFCC Member Agency counselor. To locate the Agency closest to you dial, (800) 388-2227, or go online to www.DebtAdvice.org.

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