Saving money top resolution for new year

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Less than a week away from the new year, a new poll shows Americans want to tackle their financial resolutions for 2018.

Forty percent of respondents in a Principal Financial poll say saving more money each month is their top priority.

"It doesn't matter how much you make," said Tyler Townsend, a financial adviser and partner with Townsend Wealth Management in Columbus. "You just need to spend less than what you make, and you need to save a decent amount."

Respondents also named the next most important items on their financial resolution list: second, paying off credit card debt, and in order, reducing spending, saving more for retirement, and last, building up an emergency fund for a rainy day.

"If you don't have that emergency fund saved up," Townsend said, "you're probably putting it on your credit card, and if you can't pay it off right away, then you're paying high interest on it."

Townsend said there are small steps families can take to cut down on their month-to-month spending, such as reviewing any subscriptions you've been paying to services like Netflix or Hulu.

"It's helpful to go back every once in a while and look at what you're spending," he said.  "Think of it in terms of the annual cost, rather than the monthly cost."

Another piece of money-saving advice from Townsend: stick to a budget and prioritize your most important financial decisions. "The math is very simple: it's addition and subtraction," he said. "The hard part is the decisions you have to make."

Oddly enough, according to a recently published poll from Wallethub, The Fountain City ranks among the worst 10 cities for folks keeping their New Year's resolutions. Columbus comes in at 173 out of 182 cities in this poll, which does factor in financial resolutions.

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