2014: The year of change

A few days ago, I received a text message that made me smile. "We signed up for Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University," the message read. "We start right after new year's day."

The message was from a family friend, a married father of four whose annual household income is close to $200,000, and in the top 5 percent of households in the U.S. according to the New York Times.

"We're ready to make a change," he said. "We make too much money to not know where it's going."

I could relate. Only a few short years ago, my husband and I were in the same boat. Well, we were kind of in the same boat. We didn't make nearly as much as they do, but we were blowing through what we did make without knowing where it all went. It was frustrating.

"This is the year of change," his last message read.

"The year of change?" I replied. "I like that."

The year of change

I don't know what it is, but something about the new year makes us want to reflect on our own imperfections. It makes us think. It forces us face to face with our regrets. It also makes us consider what we can do to make this year better than the last.

"We as humans love fresh beginnings and we get a new chance every January 1 st," says Shannon Ryan, a certified financial planner who has worked with individuals and businesses for the last 20 years.

And there's nothing wrong with new year's resolutions, right? In theory, choosing to make one positive change each year could only be a good thing. Think about it. This year could be the year you start exercising. Next year you could focus on nutrition. The year after that could be the year when you finally stop overspending, once and for all.

Then, boom, you've evolved from an exercise-hating spendthrift to a CrossFit enthusiast who saves 90 percent of their income. And you did it all over the span of just a few years, right?

Wrong.

According to Mrs. Ryan, it doesn't quite work that way.