Tis’ the season for spending. If it’s not school textbooks and parking passes, then it’s hockey fees and new skates for the kids. If you’re like me, you’ve already caught the holiday fever and you’re shopping for gifts and baking supplies. Among all this spending on others during this time of year there is one person we forget to include – ourselves. It’s important to make sure we are giving ourselves the gift of time and effort by setting up some of our own financial goals.
Make a List. Check it Twice.
Setting financial goals and how you plan to achieve them is an essential part of financial literacy. But how do you get started?
The easiest way to get started is by making a list. This study on goal setting found that we are 42% more likely to achieve our goals when we write them down. Don’t let bad hand writing stop you, writing down your goals can come in many forms; write in a notebook, type it into the notes section on your phone or save a spreadsheet. Don’t be afraid to get creative! What works well for me is to attach sticky notes on the fridge beside my grocery list. I find that with the amount of times I open the fridge, I’m constantly being reminded of my financial goals and it really helps when you are taking inventory of what you need to buy for groceries.
Your financial goals and how you plan to attack them are unique to you, so why wouldn’t the way you write them down be? If all it takes to get some motivation to increase your chances of achieving your goals is by writing down a list then that is ink put to good use!
I’m also a big list person and to show you how serious I am about them, I am going to give you some tips I’ve learned for setting financial goals in, you guessed it – a list!
Try These Tips!
Create SMART goals:
Setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely gives you a sense of direction, helps you organize and track your progress.
Set ‘sub goals’:
Achieving a long term goal can seem overwhelming when you look at it as a whole. Break it down by setting smaller goals that contribute to the long term. Achieving these help you see the progress you are making and keep up the motivation to continue working towards the larger goal. We all know there are times we need a little extra motivation so it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate achieving the smaller goals along the way.
Share your goals:
Sharing is caring right? By telling a friend or a family member our goals helps motivate us and holds us accountable. I might be slightly more competitive than the average person, but telling others makes me want to do anything not to fail, not only for myself but for them too. The same study referenced above showed that over 70% of participants who shared their progress on their goals with a friend actually accomplished or made significant steps toward accomplishing their goals. Bring on the goal gossip!
Speak to a financial advisor:
When in doubt, speak to someone who helps set financial goals for a living – a financial advisor. They are able to provide advice and different solutions you may have never thought of. They will also be a cheerleader in your corner and hold you accountable in your progress.
Check and cheer:
Make sure you monitor your progress, keep an eye on your current status and be open to adapting as your needs change. When you do reach that goal (big or small) – CELEBRATE! You’ve put a lot of time, preparation and thought into getting yourself into a better position financially so celebrate that feeling when you’ve saved enough for a hot vacation and can still afford groceries! For me, one of the best feelings I’ve had was when I was finally able to put a down payment on my house while leaving enough budget to furnish the place. Trust me – it’s worth it!
Now that you have the tools you need it’s up to you to get started! There is no better time than now to give yourself the gift of financial goal setting, especially during the high spend season!
In the spirit of sharing, we want to hear what tips have worked for you with your financial goal setting? Help the rest of us out!
While proudly calling Regina my home, I also spend a lot of time in the mountains, at the cabin, or in Oakland watching the Raiders. When I’m not re-watching The Office for the 100th time, you can find me snowboarding, travelling or building a puzzle. As a newlywed, my husband and I are looking to make that move from crammed condo to house heaven…(Full Bio in “Meet The Authors”)
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