6 Financial Non-Resolutions for the New Year
Hello Eagle Wealth Community,
We hope you had a wonderful and safe holiday. As we begin a new year we’d like to start with honest expectations and a plan for where we’d like to go next. Will you join us?
It’s no secret that most New Year’s Resolutions don’t come to fruition. A recent study showed that of participants who set resolutions, at one week into the new year, 77% of participants had maintained their resolutions; the number decreased to 55% after one month, 43% after three months, 40% after six months, and 19% at the two-year follow-up. So, we propose rather than setting avoidance-oriented resolutions, let’s instead set achievable approach-oriented goals.
Health-related goals are usually at the top of the list, but what about your finances? The health of your accounts, spending habits, and investments are just as important to evaluate. When it comes to your financial life this year (and beyond) here are some tips to help you stay on track to reach your goals.
Turn Your Dreams into Goals
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Whether you’re opening your own business, taking a trip around the world, or even just aiming to pay for part of your kids’ college tuition, the hard part is taking those big ideas and turning them into something actionable. Financial goals operate like any other goal in that they greatly benefit from being well-defined, written, and planned. SMART goals are a common way to organize your ideas. This system asks you to create goals that are:
- Attainable or agreed-upon
Taking a big dream and breaking it down into something that features clear-cut amounts and is tied to a certain time can be difficult, but that’s the purpose of SMART goals—to make you think with intention about your goals before agreeing to them. Take a blank piece of paper and write out a few versions of the same goal, and then talk it over with someone you trust before solidifying the goal(s) you’re going to stick to. (Hint: You can talk these over with the Eagle Wealth team).
Want to make a financial goal but aren’t quite sure where even to start? Surf the internet to get some crowd-sourced inspiration and then adapt them to your personal situation. Search “financial mindset” or “ideas for financial goals” to get your brainstorm going. You can also look to your social media networks, asking your digital community examples of their personal finance intentions.
Credit card debt, international travel, and charitable giving can be huge numbers at face value. But if you break down these numbers into smaller portions, paying for these items can feel more manageable. Start by saving an easily manageable amount each week. Even after a few months, the savings will add up to a number that can cut away at the greater goal.
Schedule Regular Check-ins
New Year’s celebrations only happen once a year, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until the end of December to review and reevaluate. Set calendar reminders to review your financial goals. Create a schedule that makes sense for your monetary goals; whether it’s once a week, monthly, or quarterly. During these review sessions be thorough and honest with your progress and setbacks. Make sure to keep your financial team in the loop if you notice any patterns or roadblocks.
Accept that Slip-Ups Can Happen
Even well-constructed goals have setbacks. You’re not a perfect person, and it’s not fair to hold yourself to unrealistic standards. Failure can happen, and if it does, that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up and assume that your goals are unattainable because of a setback. Instead, find ways to motivate yourself and make the journey to your goals easier.
As an example, let’s say you want to save for retirement at a better rate than in previous years. Maybe may want to try setting up automatic deposits, and then tell yourself you’ll treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant once you hit a certain milestone. Building a reward system may make the journey more enjoyable.
Your smartphone, tablet, and laptop are always nearby, so use them! There’s a wealth of financial apps out there to help you set and track your financial progress toward goals. For a low monthly fee or even free, you can have a personal budget tracker in your pocket that assists you on a daily basis. Turn on notifications to be reminded of your goals and current progress throughout the day. It can help keep your goals top of mind well after the initial new year motivation has passed.
We hope you begin this new year with big dreams. We’ll be here every step of the way. We look forward to another of year of hearing about your upcoming ambitions and helping you build the confidence to reach them.
Your Eagle Wealth Team