Commitment issues… So many of us have them, right? But even if you struggle to say “yes” to a partner, you can put a ring on your future financial wellness by committing to your financial goals.
Financial goals can be like new year’s resolutions: you’re all excited about them for a week or even a month, but then normal life gets in the way and you lose sight of them. Here are a few ideas of how you can remain committed to a money relationship that will have a happy ending.
See the picture. Start with a vision board, or dream map, to help you build a picture of what you want your future to look like. Your financial goals are only a means, not an end. The vision board is there to show you what the end is. When you skip this step, it is harder to stick to your goals. (This article tells you how to do a vision board)
Know your “why”. This is your reason behind the goal. When you have a clear picture of why you are saving or investing or cutting back on expenses, your motivation comes from inside you. That is far more powerful than anything else to keep you on track.
Write it down. Words on a page keep you focused on your goal, and give you benchmarks and check-in points along the way. According to financial advisors, most of their clients fail to hit their goals when they don’t write them down.
Break it down. When you set your goal, write down two or three (or even five!) steps you need to take every day to reach your target. This is all about building habits that will help you achieve your goal. Then, every day that you complete your steps, put an “X” on a calendar as a reminder that you are following your financial dreams. Before you know it, your goals will be hit, and your dreams will have grown bigger than you could have ever imagined!
Make it real. Don’t just talk about saving; make it real by setting up an account in which you save money every month. Seeing the balance grow and interest boosting the amount, is a great motivator.
Automate your savings. Set up a debit order that automatically transfers the amount you want to save out of your day-to-day bank account and into your goal account. If you can’t save the full amount you want to, start with whatever you can. The most important thing is to start.
Save the extras. Every time you get an increase or a bonus or a tax refund or money as a gift, save at least some part of it. This is money you didn’t have before, so save it instead of getting used to spending more. These windfalls are wonderful boosts that will get you to your goal quicker.
Reward yourself. Working towards your goals can be difficult, so you have to build in things that sweeten the journey. It is important to treat yourself when you reach a milestone – just don’t spend so much on the treat that you derail your plans.
Track your progress. Have a money meeting with yourself every three months to review your finances, update your goals if necessary and see how you are performing against your financial plan.
Involve your partner and/or children in this review, especially if you have a family goal you want to achieve.
Get a goal buddy. Get your spouse or partner on board, as well as someone whose money know-how and habits you admire, and/or a friend who also wants to achieve a big, juicy goal. Learn from each other, keep each other accountable and motivate each other. With the right support, everything becomes easier.