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Resolutions, real life, and sweating the small stuff

Resolutions are so much fun to formulate – they epitomize the best we want to be. However, time and time again, our resolutions slowly blur from the idealized vision we see for ourselves until we find ourselves falling back into just managing the minutia that makes up our day-to-day lives.

Maybe the larger truth is that better managing the minutia––not fulfilling lofty start-of-the-year resolutions––is the key to bettering our financial lives.

It has been said that “if we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” We believe that this incredibly astute adage is the perfect guide for women and saving for retirement. And, with the New Year upon us, it’s a great time to adopt it as a guiding principal for paving the road to a more secure retirement future.

This year, why not resolve to take just a moment to evaluate the little things in your life––day-to-day decisions that can easily impact your savings plan. Here are just five little things to consider…facebook us your ideas.

  1. Buy the retail brand – in most cases, the brand name is equivalent to the national brand. We admit there are just some name brands that can never be replaced but if you move the majority of your grocery list into the retail brand, the savings will add up quickly.
  2. Brown bag it – lunches typically run around $5 at a fast food restaurant and if you eat at a sit down establishment you are closing in on double digits. Saving just $5/day and investing this money with a 9% return, you could amass $100,000 in 20 years. From age 22 to 65, you would have saved…….are you sitting down….$1 million.
  3. Trim the cable channels – Nielsen Research found that the common household watched only 15 channels but paid for over 100 channels. Trim your plan and the savings will add up.
  4. Ask yourself if you really need it – yes, new leather boots (on sale!) sound like a great idea. But, if you’re like most women, you’ve got tons of shoes. This “ask yourself” principal can save you thousands over the course of a single year.
  5. Squirrel away your pennies – dedicate all the money that you’ve saved from “sweating the small stuff” into your savings account. Use this extra cash to either pay off chunks of credit card debt each month or max out your 401k with an end of year contribution.

In 2012, make a resolution to pay attention to the small things, each and every day. A dollar saved here or there can positively affect your years down the road…long after lofty resolutions are forgotten.

Cathy DeWitt Dunn, President of DeWitt & Dunn, LLC, is the driving force behind Women Money & Power. With decades of experience in the financial services industry, Cathy specializes in helping individuals and families strengthen their retirement outlook with lifetime income solutions not available from traditional brokerage houses. She has helped countless investors start their personal journeys towards a stronger retirement with strategies designed to protect principal, generate retirement income that can’t be outlived, and eliminate market loss.

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