Setting goals and resolutions is something that just about everyone does in the new year, and why not? it’s a chance to have a fresh start, to change what you don’t like about your life and it’s a chance to be different.
Most people find themselves making goals and resolutions to workout more or eat better, or perhaps they want to be a nicer, kinder person. While these are all great goals, many people fail to make financial resolutions that will help them be in a better position money-wise when they end the year versus when they started the year.
While these seem like they may be incredibly dull, fear not! We have devised a way to make striving and achieving your financial goals for 2015 quick and painless (and you get to keep your morning latte!).
First of all, you need to identify what exactly it is you want to achieve.
The key to setting a reaching your goals is to implement exactly the right amount of change during each phase. When deciding what goal you want to achieve, don’t be too ambitious but don’t be too cautious either. It would be unrealistic of you to set a goal to pay off your $25k in student loans and save up $20k when your annual salary is $35k. But it wouldn’t be unrealistic to make it a goal to pay off $10k in student loans and save $5k.
Common financial goals goals include:
– Pay of all your debt (or a portion of it)
All of the above are great goals, and whatever your financial goal is make sure it is realistic and plausible for your circumstances. And then – write it down!
Once you have determined what your financial goal will be for 2015 the easiest way to achieve it is to make it automatic.
If you are are hoping to pay down lots of debt this year or save for an extravagant vacation/wedding/retirement account take the number you are hoping to save and divide by 12. Then set up monthly (or fortnightly if you prefer) transfers to this account.
After that, you literally will never have to think about this goal again if you don’t want to.
If you find you have extra money left over at the end of the month, you can throw it at your goal to achieve it earlier in the year. For example once all my bills are paid and my savings accounts have received their monthly contribution, I send all extra side hustle income into my honeymoon fund or my retirement account.
I find splitting my extra cash between the two makes me feel less guilty about putting money in my honeymoon account in the first place.
If you are looking to follow and keep a budget for the year, the best investment you can make is an app or program that automatically keeps your account balances and transactions up to date. By doing this you can see where you spend your money and tweak your spending and your budget each month of the year (we recommend Mint.com).
Lastly, if you are looking to grow your investing and financial knowledge the best thing you can do is sign up for a public library card and start reading about the stock market.
This is the least automatic of all the goals I listed above, it is also the goal that will take the most effort. However, with more effort comes greater chance for reward. Build a mock portfolio, pick a few stocks you are interested in and watch their performance for the 2015 year. Then you can really start investing in 2016 when you are ready to take on the financial world.
Cheers to 2015!
What are your financial goals for 2015? How do you plan to achieve them?