I’m not one for “New Year’s Resolutions”. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about setting goals, and I do so for myself regularly. But there is a big difference between a goal and a resolution.
A resolution is a decision/promise we make to ourselves to start or stop doing something. It is black and white. It is either “I’m doing it” or “I failed” and it’s over, ruined. Resolutions are also ineffective. Statistically speaking, only about 9% of people actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions. 64% have already given up by the end of January.1 Whenever we break a promise to ourselves we lose a bit of self-respect. Next time we want to make a change, our brains remember how we failed and it’s easier to give up. It’s a toxic cycle.
Goals, on the other hand, are targets to shoot for. They involve planning the steps that will get you to the target and being able to measure how you are doing along the way, adjusting as necessary. With goals, failure is not the end, but just a pivot point. Sports are a great example of this. The goal might be to win a championship. The steps involve practice, conditioning, strategic plays, and games, all of which have measurable outcomes that track improvement. Not having clear financial goals and a plan to get there is like hoping you get to the championship without going to practice, knowing the plays, or putting in the work. It’s not going to happen. Goals are vital for financial victory and freedom.
Here are some tips when selecting and planning your financial goals for this year:
Make sure the goal is clear and measurable. Not “spend less money”, or “save more in my retirement”. Better would be, “put $500 in my Roth account on the 1st of each month”.
Make sure you have regular check-ins (include your spouse if married) to measure how things are going. Adjust as necessary. If you set the goal too high and it doesn’t feel do-able, don’t trash it, just change it and make it more attainable.
Rely on discipline, not motivation. You won’t “feel like it”. Do it anyways. It takes an average of around 2 months to develop a habit. Stick it out until it becomes automatic – it get’s easier!
If you aren’t sure where to start with a financial goal, some foundational goals could be:
Save 2-3 months of expenses in an emergency fund. Choose an amount to save monthly and put it in your savings right when you get paid.
Save 10% of your income towards retirement. This is YOUR income – not including your employer’s match if you have a 401k.
If your debt is higher than 20% of your monthly net income, plan to reduce it by making extra payments each month. Check out the “Snowball Method” here: https://www.ramseysolutions.com/debt/how-the-debt-snowball-method-works
A Financial Advisor is like a coach for your finances. We exist to come alongside you and help you achieve victory financially - whatever that means to you. If you could use some help setting or planning how to reach your goals, give us a call or shoot Bob or me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
1 "19 Mind-Blowing New Year’s Resolution Statistics," Inside Out Mastery, https://insideoutmastery.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/#:~:text=Every%20year%2C%2038%2C5%25,studies%20over%20the%20past%20years.