From left to right: Kate Smith, Andrew Glenn, Ben Sussman, Liz Derby, Jatin Jindal, Ryan Timmons. This year, the Betterment team is vowing to spend more quality time with family, run races, fight for what they believe in, take up more hobbies, and max out their retirement accounts.


Making a New Year’s resolution is a strange practice. Your odds of succeeding in your resolution are less than half as good as those of winning with a typical scratch-off lottery ticket.

And yet, every year, 45% of us say, “Now I will make a promise to improve myself, because everyone’s doing it and it feels right.” (Also it’s festive and fun!)

It’s been going on for at least 4,000 years, when the ancient Babylonians annually made promises to their gods to pay their debts and return borrowed objects. Not quite the same as vowing to lose weight, quit smoking, and save more—the three that regularly top lists of popular resolutions—but same idea.

The start of the new year is a clean slate. It’s a chance to challenge ourselves. It’s an opportunity to do something good, and be better.

Then comes the part of putting them into practice. By February, 64% of people are still sticking to their goals they set out to achieve on Jan 1. Six months into the year, that percentage drops to less than half. By the year’s end, only about 8% of us have achieved our resolutions.

Because it’s hard! We set these goals and, especially if they’re big, life gets in the way. So why do we keep setting them? Because the start of the new year is a clean slate. It’s a chance to challenge ourselves. It’s an opportunity to do something good, and be better.

That’s why a bunch of us at Betterment made resolutions for 2017, and we thought it would be fun to share them with you.

Ryan Timmons, Lead Software Engineer


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Meet my yearly retirement and savings goal by April. Time in the market matters! I maxed out my 401(k) in September this year, and I’ve felt rich at the end of every month since then. It’s really nice to have that “extra” money at the end of the month knowing that I’ve saved everything I need to.

Liz Derby, Product Marketing Manager


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Make time for hobbies. I think it’s important to have a creative outlet outside of work. I’m more productive both in and out of work when I have a full schedule. I signed up for a painting class in January that meets once a week, and I’m going to make an effort to cook more instead of ordering in.

Dustin Lucien, Chief Operating Officer


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Teach my 1-year-old daughter, Rose, to sign. Simple things: “I’m hungry.” “I’m full.” “I’m tired.” I know when she throws food at me she’s really trying to tell me something, so I want to give her the tools to help me lower my dry cleaning bill. Plus I want her to learn to communicate with others as early as she can. It’s one thing I know she’ll need to be good at for the rest of her life.

Erika Hakanson, Senior Operations Associate


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Run an ultramarathon! Running is very therapeutic for me. I’ve learned so much more about myself since I’ve started running. It’s made me love and be proud of myself.

Andrew Glenn, VP of Engineering


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Run a speedy 10K. Having a specific fitness goal motivates me to work out more often.

Ben Sussman, Lead Software Engineer


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Donate to great nonprofit organizations (both time and money) and generally be an active supporter for underserved, low-income, and minority communities most at risk of losing rights.

Kate Smith, Senior Recruiter


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Spend more quality time with family… sans phone! I’m fortunate to work at a company that supports the flexibility I need to be there for my family. Time is precious (and fast-moving), and I don’t want my daughter to feel she’s competing with my phone for attention. Quality time is important, and I don’t want to take that for granted.

Michael Ballard, Product Manager


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Get my pilot’s license. It’s my personal final frontier. (I don’t care about going to space.)

Jatin Jindal, Product Manager


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Reach a weight of 75 kilograms by end of 2017. (I promised my wife on our wedding that I would.)

Jon Stein, Founder and CEO


My New Year’s resolution is to…
Explore more with my 1- and 3-year-old daughters—starting with the sites, neighborhoods, and parks of NYC and our beautiful surrounding region. I want to show them the world, and I want to see it again through their eyes, learning from them. Weekends were made for this.

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