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Ask a Fool: How Do I Keep My New Year's Resolution to Start Investing?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® – Updated Apr 11, 2019 at 11:25PM

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Here are a couple of steps you can take that can greatly increase your chances of success.

Q: My New Year's resolution for 2019 is to finally get serious about investing, but to be honest, this isn't the first time I've said that. What advice can you offer to help me finally stick to it this year?

You aren't alone. Millions of Americans make similar investment-related resolutions each year, and studies have shown that fewer than 10% are successful. So it's fair to say that many Americans want to start investing but haven't yet.

With that in mind, I have two key pieces of advice that can greatly increase your chances of success in 2019.

First, I suggest forming specific goals -- not just "I want to start investing." This could mean a certain dollar amount you'd like to deposit into a brokerage account during the year, or something else. The more specific a goal is, the easier it is to formulate a plan.

The second piece of advice I'd give is to automate the process. If you open a brokerage account and set an automatic transfer from your bank account every payday, you're not giving yourself any choice but to succeed.

As an example, instead of simply saying that you want to start investing, you might say, "I'd like to put $3,000 into a brokerage account and build a portfolio of five different funds." Then, you can set up an automatic transfer based on how frequently you get paid in order to ensure this goal is met.

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