Here are the top 5 financial resolutions you should make this year

If you’re planning to make financial resolutions this year, you’re not alone.

A survey from Ascent shows that most Americans (two-thirds) plan on making a money resolution for 2023.

With rising interest rates, still-high inflation, worries about layoffs and the broader economic landscape in general, it makes sense that resolutions focused on money are foremost in the minds of so many Americans.

Here are some of the more popular — and timely — ones to make.

A woman takes a look at the giant, seven-foot-tall numerals for
A woman takes a look at the giant, seven-foot-tall numerals for "2023", as it arrives for the December 31 Times New Year's Eve celebrations, at Times Square in New York City, U.S., December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Pay down credit card debt

Paying down credit card debt is always a top resolution, but this year it should be a priority since the average rate on a credit card is almost 20%. That’s up from just 16.3% at the beginning of 2022, and is the highest it’s been since Bankrate started tracking credit card rates in 1985.

“For someone making only minimum payments toward $5000 in credit card debt, the rate hikes have added seven months to the payback cycle, costing an additional $1,166 in interest,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com and Creditcards.com.

Given that the Fed has indicated that more interest rate hikes are on the way, this debt is only going to get costlier in 2023.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Bolster emergency savings

An emergency fund is your first line of defense against financial hardship. Without it, you’re putting yourself at risk of financial catastrophe, yet just 27% of Americans have the recommended six months’ worth of expenses saved up, said Rossman.

Don’t become a statistic — especially now, since we could be heading into a recession in 2023.

“While most projections are for a relatively mild recession (unlike the double-digit unemployment rates we saw in 2009 and 2020), there’s only one way for the unemployment rate to go from here: up. Even a rise to 5% unemployment would represent about two million additional people out of work,” Rossman said. “I’m not saying that to scare people, but rather to emphasize the importance of saving for that proverbial rainy day.”

“It might not even be a job loss,” he added. “It might be a broken refrigerator, a leaky roof, a surprise medical bill, or some other unexpected event, and you need to be prepared."

Readjust or revise your budget

This is a good idea every year, but it’s especially important following a year of high inflation, said Richard Barrington, a financial analyst at Credit Sesame.

“Update your budget to make sure you are spending less than you are bringing home. Otherwise, you’ll be building debt," Barrington said. "That just adds interest expenses on top of higher prices.”

Boost your retirement savings

Person Putting Coin In Piggy Bank At Table
(Photo: Getty Creative)

When it comes to saving for retirement, you may be feeling discouraged given what happened last year.

“Retirement savings were hit by a double blow in 2022,” Barrington said. “A very bad year for stocks and bonds sank the value of most retirement investments. Meanwhile, unusually high inflation means you’ll need more money to live on by the time you retire.”

Keep your emotions in check and continue contributing to your retirement account — at least enough to qualify for your employer's full match. Those matches typically involve contributing 3% to 5% of your salary.

If you can’t afford to contribute that much right now, take a slow and steady approach with gradual increases that, over time, can make a big difference.

“Make a note to try to up your contribution by a percentage point or two in six months," Rossman said. “Every dollar you set aside for retirement in your 20s and 30s could be worth $15 or even $20 by the time you retire.”

Improve your credit

The kind of environment we’re heading into in 2023 — higher interest rates and a slower economy — makes it especially important to have a strong credit score, said Barrington.

“With interest rates rising, you’ll want a good enough credit score to qualify for the lowest rates available,” Barrington said.

Also, in a slow economy defaults on credit payments tend to rise, added Barrington. “This may make banks tighten their credit standards. If you want to continue to have credit available, it’s a good idea to make sure your credit score is in tip-top shape in 2023.”

Personal finance journalist Vera Gibbons is a former staff writer for SmartMoney magazine and a former correspondent for Kiplinger's Personal Finance. Vera, who spent over a decade as an on-air financial analyst for MSNBC, currently serves as co-host of the weekly nonpolitical news podcast she founded, NoPo. She lives in Palm Beach, Florida.

Get the latest personal finance news, tips and guides from Yahoo Money.

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Flipboard, and LinkedIn.