Making smart financial resolutions

(NBC News) – Paying down debt tops the list of financial resolutions experts say you should make for the new year. Start with all those bills you ran up last month celebrating Christmas.

“The last thing you want to do is ruin all those great holiday feelings by starting the new year with a holiday debt hangover that you’re facing for the next few months,” says Matt Shulz of CreditCards.com.

A consumer survey by Fidelity Investments found many Americans included debt reduction among their top financial goals for 2017. “We’ve seen people really focus on making sure they can pay off debt, curb their spending, and there’s been a real surge and focus on savings,” says Fidelity’s Ken Hevert.

The firm’s survey of more than 2,000 people found the vast majority more willing to make resolutions because they’re so optimistic.

“Seven out of ten respondents, which is the highest it’s been in a while, are telling us that they feel much better about the path forward,” Hevert says.