March 3, 2014
Reaching your money goals isn’t all about the dollars and cents. In fact, it’s more about how we emotionally deal with money and plan our attack. Here are our six-smart-steps for 2012:
1. Forward focus A fresh year is exactly that: a fresh year. Women in particular can be quite good at holding on to past mistakes – not saving enough; spending more than they want to; being a little liberal with the plastic etc.
There’s certain to be enough to deal with this year, without focussing on the past. So pack all the old baggage away and give yourself an amnesty. The only thing to take forward this year from old hiccups – big and small – is what you’ve learnt from them.
2. Choose you When you choose a specific goal or two for the year, you’re effectively choosing you. You’re saying that the world might demand a lot from you, but there are a couple of things you want for yourself as well.
The trick is to be specific. Put a figure on it if it’s savings or debt reduction. Cut out a picture of a house that you love if it’s buying your first or subsequent home. Start noting down companies and stocks of interest if you’re planning on investing in the share market. Whatever your goal is, make sure you could clearly describe it to someone in 20 words or less.
3. Brighten up the vocabulary Setting a financial goal for your future is ultimately about achieving something you want. But as we all know, words like budgeting often conjure up images of sacrifice and noses pressed against the window of your favourite shoe shop… So get rid of it – say goodbye to the word budget and replace it with words of your choice that remind you of the good things to come.
4. Break it down Goals, especially big ones, are a hundred times easier to reach when broken down into manageable stages. For example – this year I want to save $10,000. So by the end of March I will have saved $2,500; by July $5,000 and so on. Break down your goal into stages and set milestones – shorter timeframes help to keep on track and it’s great for a sense of achievement.
5. Don’t be stingy with your time Just like relationships, your money matters need nurturing too. Pop a diary reminder in your phone set to a frequency of your choice (but no longer than a month) and spend some time catching up on the details. The word to keep in mind is visibility – you have to know what’s happening with your finances to reach your goals, and that means a little time regularly, to review how your tracking.
6. Find a money buddy State your goals out loud and commit to them with someone you trust and feel comfortable with. Sharing what you want to achieve helps firm up your motivation and means you have someone to talk to should you encounter any hiccups in the plan, or find sticking to your goal difficult.