“A goal is a dream with a deadline,” stated author Napoleon Hill. The new year provides motivation for setting goals. New Year’s is a time to evaluate where you are on many levels. Resolutions are a firm decision to do or not do something. Many New Year’s resolutions involve money and personal finances.
When setting financial goals, people generally want to save more, spend less, or get more finances in order. Whatever your goals may be the process for successfully achieving them has been well researched and can be used by anyone. The six steps below will assist you in reaching your goals. Please note that if you are married, financial goals work much better when both partners are on the same page.
1. Determine what you want to accomplish.
a. Some examples include:
i. Save for retirement
ii. Pay down debt
iii. Buy a home
iv. Maintain an emergency savings account
v. Create a will and/or trust
2. Assess where your finances are. Make a list of your assets, liabilities, and budget. If you have never taken time to make a budget and determine how much you and your family spend on a monthly and annual basis, this is an excellent first goal and place to start in getting your finances together. There are many tools online to assist you in this process.
3. Write down your goals in order of priority. This is the most crucial step in the process. Once you write down what you are trying to achieve, your brain begins to unravel how to make it happen.
4. Place a date by which you want to have made progress. Financial goals, like other goals, tend to be ongoing habits that become a part of your life and may never have completed checkmarks. Thus, as in so many other areas of life, getting started is the hardest part.
5. Consider action that needs to be taken. What is stopping you? Are there ongoing expenses that are inhibiting you from saving or paying off your debt? What changes need to be made to reach the goals that you have written?
6. Bring in an expert where needed. Would a tax expert, financial planner, or estate planning attorney be helpful in completing your goals or evaluating the next best steps?
Improving your finances is a worthy goal that may increase peace for you and your family. The process may be challenging so don’t lose heart. Take a small break if you need and then make a date, write it on your calendar, for when you will get back to focusing on your finances. As Walt Disney reminds us, “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”
Heidi Foster, Wealth Advisor and Investment Manager with American Wealth Management and may be reached at www.financialhealth.com, 775.332.7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Securities offered through M.S. Howells & Co. member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through American Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and a separate entity from M.S. Howells & Co. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. The author is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. If assistance or further information is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.