New Year Resolutions for Clients

At the start of the year, many Americans make resolutions. This includes your clients. According to Forbes, improved fitness is #1 at 48% and lose weight is #5 at 34%. What’s in position #2? Improved finances at 38%. (1) This is an area where you can help. How?


Many people have no idea where their money goes. When they run out, they go into credit, like a home equity line of credit.

Resolution: I resolve to keep track of daily expenditures, writing down what I have spent in cash and on credit cards, every day. The logic is similar to weight loss programs. If you keep track of what you eat, you think twice before choosing to eat the item. This will let you know what you spend by category.


Many people simply make the minimum amount of payments on credit cards. They might be paying close to 25% on revolving cash balances. It has been said fraudsters try passing though small charges first. If they go unchallenged, they assume the card holder does not review their statements.

Resolution: I resolve to review a statement from each of my credit cards. What interest rate am I paying? If I am not paying off the balance each month, I will shop around for a card with a lower interest rate.

Resolution: I will let my financial advisor know how much I owe on credit cards. This is something we are tempted to hide, or not bring up unless asked. They need to know to get a full financial picture.

Resolution: I will review each credit card statement every month. I will look for unfamiliar charges and report them immediately to the company. Be on the lookout for fraud.

Financial Planning:

You and your financial advisor have put together a financial plan. It is a dynamic document, not something that sits on a shelf on in an Outlook file folder.

Resolution: I will make time available for at least one meeting a year with my financial advisor to specifically review progress to goals. This lets you know if you are on track, ahead or behind. You may need to make adjustments.

Resolution: I will tell my financial advisor if there are any upcoming major changes. If you think you are going to be laid off, don’t wait until it happens to let your advisor know. They can help you be proactive in your financial planning.


Investment performance is different from general financial planning. Even if you own mutual funds or managed money, you need to pay attention.

Resolution: I resolve to make time available to meet with my financial advisor and review progress on the schedule they suggest. It is important to focus attention, not assume this can be piggybacked onto the financial planning meeting.

Resolution: I resolve to let my financial advisor explain how performance should be measured. You cannot measure performance of a balanced portfolio against an equity only index like the S&P 500. You need a comparable blended index to get a realistic picture.

Retirement Planning:

The first stop for retirement saving is the 401(k) at your employer. This is followed by your IRA account.

Resolution: I resolve to maximize my contribution to my 401(k) at work. I want to take full advantage of the company match. The easiest dollars to save are those that come off your paycheck before taxes.

Resolution: I will fund my IRA account in January. This money might come from the client’s annual bonus, if paid around that time.

There are many other resolutions you might suggest to your client. These should be enough to get the conversation started. You don’t need to suggest them all. Some are more important than others.


Related: How To Help Clients Find That Good Professional