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Watching Your Wallet: Strengthen your financial fitness before 2019

While exercise goals often top resolution lists, experts say you should also consider working out your money plans.

MIDLOTHIAN, VIRGINIA (INVESTIGATETV) – It’s nearly time to make those New Year’s resolutions. For most of us, January first brings renewed promises to shape up or slim down, but this is also a great time of year to get a head start on your money outlook for 2019.

Come January gyms across the country will get even busier.

“January first, it’s always like a reset for people. This is time for me to take control of my life, and that’s why we see such a surge of people coming here,” said Larisa Shaw, a personal trainer for American Family Fitness in Midlothian, Virginia.

Trainers said pushing the reset button on yourself can be a good thing.
“I do think setting a goal for yourself and trying to see it through at least for a year is a good thing,” said personal trainer Marcus White.

While New Year’s resolutions on fitness are popular, NerdWallet financial expert Kim Palmer said managing your money should also be a big priority.

“A lot of people feel a sense of extra motivation at that New years’ time, and so you really want to tap into that,” Palmer said.

Palmer’s advice is to get motivated.

“You don’t want to feel really rushed at the end of the year,” Palmer said.

While you have a few weeks until 2019 starts, Palmer said December is always a good time to plan out ways to save or create a budget. You can think big, but break your idea down into smaller, more attainable goals.

“You want to start thinking about what your goals are how to break them up into smaller pieces,” Palmer said.

Your goal might be saving to buy a house or saving for retirement.

“Maybe one small step you can say you want to make in January is to open up a 401k, if you don’t have one already,” Palmer said. “Or maybe if you have children, [you] want to create a 529 account for their college savings. So, thinking of smaller steps, for those bigger goals, so they don’t feel too intimidating.”

Also, Palmer said don’t be afraid to share your goals with close friends or family. She said it can be like having a running buddy.

“Their friends can say, ‘Hey are you sticking to this goal are you saving this amount? Every week?’” Palmer said.

She explained the more enjoyable you can make achieving your New Year’s money goals, the more likely you are to stick with them.

For more tips from Palmer, watch the video below.