Only 52% of Americans Met Their Savings Goal in 2023. Here's How to Meet Yours in 2024

Many of us set goals and don’t achieve them, whether it’s conquering a triathlon or pledging to have a takeout-free month (it’s debatable as to which one is harder). Similarly, it’s not uncommon to fall short of a financial goal, whether it’s getting your savings account balance to $5,000 or whittling your credit card balance down to $0.

It may interest you to know that in 2023, 52% of U.S. adults saved the amount of money they set out to or more, according to data from New York Life. But if you didn’t quite meet your 2023 savings goal, don’t let it get you down. There’s still plenty of time to rock your 2024 goal. But if you want to be successful, then it pays to do these things.

1. Make sure your 2024 goal is reasonable

Maybe 2024 is the year you want to build a $10,000 emergency fund. That’s a great thing to strive for. But if you only bring home $3,000 a month after taxes and other deductions, and your essential bills come to $2,700, then that may not be doable. In this scenario, you may only have $300 per month available to put toward your goal, so telling yourself you’ll somehow save $10,000 may be setting yourself up for failure.

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A better bet? Set a reasonable target. In this example, that would be $3,600. You may be able to boost that target modestly if you know you’re willing to work a side hustle for extra income. But even then, $10,000 may be a reach, whereas $5,000 or $6,000 may be more reasonable.

2. Get support from friends and loved ones

Working toward a savings goal isn’t something you have to do alone. It pays to enlist the support of the important people in your life so they can help you attain success.

Let’s say you don’t share your goal with your spouse. They might try to get you to go out every weekend when you’d rather stay home and bank the money you would have spent. Sharing your intentions might get your partner to stop asking you to go out and instead work with you to come up with fun activities to do at home.

Similarly, maybe you have a friend who’s also trying to reach a savings goal in 2024. Work with each other. Support one another. Console one another when you’re the only ones not joining your friends for a fancy dinner at the hot new restaurant in town. It could go a long way.

3. Put the savings process on autopilot

One of the best things you can do to meet a savings goal is take human error or temptation out of the equation. To that end, it pays to set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account in the amount you’re looking to save monthly. If that amount is $300, arrange for that sum to land in savings off the bat.

Let’s say you tell yourself you’ll transfer $300 to your savings account at the end of the month. What might happen during the month is you get invited to go skiing or see a concert, and poof, that $300 is gone. If you send it into savings at the start of the month, you’ll basically take away the option to spend it — which is a good thing.

Saving money isn’t easy, so don’t get down on yourself if you didn’t meet your savings goal in 2023. Instead, set yourself up to have something to celebrate at the end of 2024.

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