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Right New Year Resolutions Can Yield Financial Results

Money is a common thread to New Year's resolutions.

Your Money Resolutions - A CNBC Special Report
Your Money Resolutions - A CNBC Special Report

And though the calendar shouldn't make much difference in our lives when it comes to change, the new year provides incentive enough for many.

Thus our special report, "Your Money Resolutions."

In the world of stocks, "The January Effect" gets a lot of attention because the market tenet stipulates that new money flows into the market at this time of year and what happens in January, especially the first five trading sessions of the month, often sets the market's direction for the whole year.

An up January often means an up year. It's been true to form 85 percent of the time since 1945, according to the Stock Trader's Almanac. (We're off to a good, and thus the right, start this year.)

Off course, many investors are still gun-shy about the market. We have a poll on that subject for you to take.

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Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

According to Miller Tabak strategist Dan Greenhaus,only 11.4 percent of households hold individual corporate stocks at the moment, about half of what it was near the market peak in the second quarter of 2007.

After the Flash Crash of early last May and the 20 percent spring slump, American households pulled some $90 billion from stock mutual funds.

That trend is slowly reversing and with stocks having posted healthy gains for two years in a row more retails investors are eyeing the market.

Given the longer-term market trend and the January Effect, it is a good time for investors to fine-tune their portfolios, as well as decide whether they want a financial advisor again.

Those in either camp will want to check out our slideshow on investing tips for the new year.

And for the more optimistic and bullish sort, see our story about what stocks to ride during the economy's recovery.

Life, however, is hardly any more predictable, but we certainly have more control over our personal finances than the financial markets.

And wise decisions now—in life, work and investing—can pay off later, especially if you answer a call to action.

You'll find stories on preparing for life after college, resetting your finances after a bout of unemployment, how do get acredit score "do over" and how to plan for retirement.

So, whether it is life or investment, hopefully your New Year's resolve will show some results.