A few weeks into the new year, how are your resolutions going? Have you veered off course? If you have, you’re not alone: Most people ditch their resolutions by February.
If your resolutions are already losing steam, don’t worry: You still have plenty of time to make a plan that works for you.
Here’s how to set financial goals that’ll hold up even through another uncertain year:
Find the Finish Line for Your Financial Goals
Many people set vague financial goals like “save money” or “pay off debt,” but those resolutions are too difficult to stick with without a plan. Think of the difference between “get in shape” and “run a half marathon.” “Get in shape” is a goal that’s doomed to fail because it’s too broad, but “run a half marathon” is a very clear result that you can work towards.
This is where S.M.A.R.T. goals – aka specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound goals – come in handy. If you set financial goals that are S.M.A.R.T., you’ll be able to tell when you’re making progress. And progress will keep you motivated to stay the course.
Create Good Habits
In The Story of Philosophy, Will Durant wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
Every achievement is made up of good habits, and your financial goals are no different. If this is the year you want to stick to a budget, it’s going to take good habits to get there. For example, instead of just planning to budget more, decide to sit down every Sunday night with your spouse to go over your spending.
Some other financial habits to start could include:
- Tracking all of your spending for one week
- Reading one investment book every quarter
- Listening to a financial podcast every morning on your way to work
- Paying off your credit cards in full every month
- Transferring a portion of every paycheck to your emergency fund
Work with an Expert to Reach Your Financial Goals
Sometimes you need the expertise and accountability of a professional to help you stick to your resolutions. If you’ve tried to lose 30 pounds for years but always give up, hiring a personal trainer could be the edge you need to get there.
The same goes for your money. If you haven’t made much progress toward your financial goals, maybe it’s time to hire a financial advisor to help you create a strategic plan.
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP®, believes everyone should have access to financial resources and coaching. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.