“It’s encouraging to see Aussie’s are thinking about ways to improve their financial health in the New Year, with the continued cost of living pressures potentially driving this.
“As a behavioural science team, we’re continually looking at ways to make it easier for customers to not only set financial goals, but also to follow through on them. Resolutions often fail to stick, however the science suggests there are some practical steps you can take to increase your chances of success in 2024,” he said.
Firstly, Mr Mailer recommends people make sure they are harnessing their bank’s digital tools.
“We are all human, which means we can forget important dates, get distracted, give in to impulse and even be too optimistic in our planning.
“Consider using available technology to set up auto-transfers where it makes sense. Some banks have prediction tools to help you see which big bills are around the corner. There are other tools that can help you to limit your spending, or even block certain types of harmful spending.
“These tools can help us to better manage human tendencies that might see us slip on important goals,” Mr Mailer said.
Mr Mailer also recommends being specific about the actual things you want to do more or less of with your money.
“A common trap is to set goals that are too vague, and not actionable or measurable. Saying things like ‘I want to get fit’, or ‘I want to get on top of my money’ is not the best strategy.
“Instead, you might use your bank’s spending summaries and budgeting tools to identify those expense categories that no longer bring you happiness, like old subscriptions or expenses that you might be able to reduce. Make a specific plan, like how much you want to spend, over what time, and how you will make that happen.”
Mr Mailer also recommends making use of existing programs designed to support those facing cost of living pressures.
“Some banks and government websites make it easy to find shopping discounts, best petrol deals, government rebates, or other support services.
“While we might know that these things exist out there somewhere, it can be easy to procrastinate, and say we’ll do it later. Set yourself a January date in the calendar to identify, register and use any relevant services to set you up for a better 2024.”
Mr Mailer says it is also important to set an environment that supports your financial goals.
“Behavioural research shows that our behaviours can be influenced by our social environment, like the social media feeds that ping our phone all day, or the people we choose to spend our time with.
“Just as a chef designs their kitchen to be one in which they can produce their best work before a busy shift, set up your 2024 social circles, social media alerts and regular entertainment activities to be ones that work for you and your 2024 goals, rather than against them.”