Lofty goals are crucial to financial success. They motivate you and give you direction. But small goals should also be a part of your larger plan (because a large goal without incremental steps is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.)
Here are five small goals you can set today that will lead to your financial success:
1) Goal: Stay Up to Date with Personal Finance
One of the best ways to achieve financial success is to keep up to date on what’s new in personal finance. Here are a few great ways to do that:
Read Blogs and Websites
There are a ton of great personal finance blogs and websites out there. Women’s Money Week’s list of participants is a great place to start looking for fresh content to read. I’ll call your attention to Mom’s Money Jar (a shameless plug for my new site) and MoneyCrush (Jackie’s site.)
Subscribe to Newsletters
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Subscribe to Magazines
I like getting a physical magazine in the mail a few times a month. Every finance or business magazine has its own style – just like celebrity gossip magazines – so find a style that works for you. Here are my top choices:
1) Consumer Reports Moneyadviser (my top pick for everyone)
2) Entrepreneur (for the entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur)
3) Bloomberg Businessweek (all around interesting business magazine that’s not too business-y. They recently had a fascinating in-depth issue about pro-sports players and money.)
4) Money (lots of graphics, sort of like People magazine, except about money)
5) Kiplinger’s (for the day-trader)
Take away: Subscribe to 1 of the above today.
2) Goal: Increase Your Monthly Retirement Contribution by 1%
If you are currently contributing 5% of your salary to a retirement account, increase it to 6%. If you currently earn $50,000 a year, this small adjustment will be just over a dollar a day – but will quickly add up.
Take away: Stop by your HR office tomorrow and ask them to make the change.
3) Goal: Ask for a Raise
Negotiating your salary from the outset is always best, but if you didn’t when you started your job or it’s been awhile since you’ve gotten a raise, it’s time to ask again. Perhaps this sounds like a lofty goal. But it’s really not. With a few hours of preparation, you could walk away with a significant boost in salary. The worst that can happen? Your boss will say no – but she’ll have made a mental note and will likely reconsider at your next review.
Take away: Make a list of your current achievements. Conduct salary research for similar jobs to yours. Set up a meeting with your boss.
4) Goal: Negotiate a Lower Rate on One Recurring Bill
A good way to practice your negotiation skills and save money is to call and negotiate a lower rate on a recurring bill – like car insurance, cable, or internet.
Lifehacker has a great post from Ramit Sethi about how to negotiate lower rates on 5 of your bills (phone numbers included). Studies show that women are effective negotiators when negotiating on behalf of themselves, so get out their and bargain for a lower rate today.
Take away: Call one company today and lower your rate.
5) Goal: Talk to Your Significant Other about Money
Let’s face it – money is hard to talk about with our loved ones. It’s such a touchy subject that we spent a whole day of Women’s Money Week talking about relationships and money. But in order to have a good relationship, you must continually communicate about your finances.
Take away: Set up a financial date night. Order take-out. And get your financial planning on.
While these are all small goals they will help you achieve financial success. But also remember to establish both larger goals and create tiny habits for personal finance.
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