Finances are a common area that people set New Year’s resolutions or goals around. Often times we are met with an overwhelming number of goals and dreams that we want to achieve in the new year. Whether it is to save more, get out of debt, or buy a home are some common financial goals. But a goal without a plan and consistent actions won’t be achieved. Just like anything in life, proper preparation is needed if you are to achieve your goals!
Here are some steps to follow:
Start with ONE. We suggest focusing on ONE goal rather than stretching your focus and resources across multiple goals. You can always add another one later on if the first one is going well. Focusing on too many goals at once can be overwhelming and stressful. You do not have the ability to give 100% of your focus onto tasks if your mind is all over the place thinking about something else!
Get clear on what your financial goal is. “Saving more money” or “paying off debt” is not specific enough to give you a target. An example of a more specific goal would be “I want to save $6000 in an emergency fund by the end of the year.” Often times people get too excited about a goal and make it very generic, leaving out the important details. Being specific is a great way to ensure that you not only understand the true intention behind your goal but it also helps to create a better, more tailored, roadmap to acheiving your goal.
Break the goal into smaller steps.For example, in order to have a total of $6000 by the end of the year, you’ll need to save $500/month or $250 every two weeks. When your tasks are broken down into smaller steps, it makes the large goal seem much more achievable. Think of looking at a treasure map without the dashes. Without small steps, you don’t have any sense of direction on where to go or how to start. Small steps lead to big rewards!
Seek our professional advice or a financial expert’s advice. Different financial goals require different financial products and strategies. What the money is used for, how long it will be invested, your risk tolerance and other factors will influence the best financial product to achieve your goals. There are a vareity of things to take into account when figuring out how to achieve your financial goal. Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We recommend you find a trusted financial planner for advice if your goals seem to complicated in order to achieve minimal mistakes along the way.
Focus on habits that will get you there. One of our core strategies is “SET IT AND FORGET IT.” Set a monthly or weekly amount that automatically gets transferred to a savings account (or whatever product you’ve decided on) or towards debt to help you consistently work towards achieving your goal. The more simple and automated the task becomes, the less stress you will have on your shoulders. If you refer back to step one, we humans only have so attention and energy we can spare onto different goals. So, if you can simplify the task and make it automatic, then you can focus your efforts somewhere else that is more needed.
Review your goal regularly and readjust as needed. People who write down their goals and look at them regularly are 1.4-3 times more likely to achieve their goal. If you aren’t able to consistently achieve the smaller goal that is moving you towards your bigger one, consider readjusting it. For example, if saving $500/month is not consistently attainable, consider adjusting the goal to $250/month. You’ll still have $3000 by the end of the year! People are more likely to continue a habit when they are successful at it and more likely to give up when they are not. Focus on progress not perfection. If things are on track and going well, then you could consider adding a new financial goal and repeating the process.
A new year always comes with new goals but we hope that you now understand the importance of preparing and planning small steps to reaching larger your big financial goals for the new year! Remember, these steps do not necessarily have to be done in this order, and often times you will find yourself making mistakes and being set back. But don’t be discouraged bercause any large financial goal requires consistency, which makes your goal that much more achieveable!