I’m busy getting geared up for Frugality Boot Camp (one day away! AAAAH!) so I’ve enlisted the help of an expert (and FBC’14 speaker) to help us stay focused with our Focus on Finances month challenges. Greg from TenCap coaching is going to make sure we all accomplish our wildest hopes and dreams this year…and makes it easy to understand! Oh, and just FYI…he’s the one giving away $100 to someone who participates in the Focus on Finances month by sharing posts on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #FocusOnFinances so ENTER LIKE CRAZY, FOLKS! Ok, take it away, Greg…
5 Ways to Accomplish your Financial Goals for 2014
The New Year is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on what has been and think about what will be. Most of us set some resolutions in place to help stretch ourselves to become better people, but the challenge with resolutions is that they can be quickly forgotten. I recently heard a friend of mine say, “I do a really good job of keeping my diet… except when I’m eating.” The gyms are busy for a few months and the junk food is temporarily set aside, but unfortunately we then find a way to settle back into how life use to be.
One of my favorite quotes is from the late Gordon B. Hinckley. He said:
“One of the great tragedies we witness almost daily is the tragedy of men of high aim and low achievement. Their motives are noble. Their proclaimed ambition is praiseworthy. Their capacity is great. But their discipline is weak. They succumb to indolence. Appetite robs them of will.”
What is the key to successfully accomplishing our resolutions and staying disciplined? I’m going to outline five time-tested ideas to help you accomplish your financial goals in 2014…
and it all starts with being S.M.A.R.T.
The first step is to break down your goals and become very specific. It’s not enough to say you want to save more money or pay off debt. We all want that. If you are to have any level of success, you have to get specific. ‘I will pay off $5,000 in debt by December’ or ‘I will save and invest $500 every month.’ Is much better than saying, “I’m going to get out of debt and save more.”
Make it Measurable
Goals need to be measurable to work. If you do not track them, how will you know you are on the right path? When it comes to measuring goals, break them down even further. Rather than saying ‘I will pay off $5,000 in debt by December’ try ‘I will pay off $400 of debt per month.’ Smaller, measurable goals will keep you motivated.
Make it Attainable
If a goal is unobtainable, it can be overwhelming to get started. Sure, it is important to create goals that will stretch you, but making them too large can be counterproductive. Accomplish goals that are attainable; that will give you confidence and inertia to move forward. An easy way to do this is to look back at what you have accomplished financially in the past twelve months and then reach out of your comfort zone and raise your sites to give you something to get up for in the morning.
Is it Relevant?
Money is so much more than numbers on a spreadsheet. Money can represent all that you have created, sacrifice, value, hard work and discipline. Rather than shooting for a large account balance, think about what I refer to as your True Purpose for Money. This is what is more important to you than the money itself. It has to do with the values you most cherish. Identify what values are most important to you and make goals that correspond to those values.
Is it Time-Sensitive?
Finally, you should give yourself a deadline for completing your goal. Parkinson’s Law is summed up in this way: The amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task. In other words, do not procrastinate-get started today. Remember to keep the timeframe of the goal manageable. If you feel like you can reasonably accomplish your savings goal within six months, do not wait the entire year before setting a new goal.
We have all made financial resolutions in the past. The question is, can we keep them? Remember the true test of character is the ability to carry out a decision; long after the decision has been made.
One reason why Weight Watchers has proven to be so helpful in assisting people with losing and keeping weight off is because of the mentoring and accountability it offers. It is no different with regards to finances. A missing ingredient in many people’s goals is a partner to help them stay accountable to what they have said they will do. Because money is such a personal issue many times we don’t feel comfortable sharing our goals and challenges regarding money with our family or friends. A trusted financial coach can be one of your greatest assets. A coach will help you avoid dysfunctional behavior, keep you disciplined and provide independent objective advice to accomplish your SMART goals.
Creating and following a financial plan is not a dress rehearsal. The stakes can be very high. If you feel like a coach could help you, learn more at our website, www.tencapcoaching.com.
Greg Black is the owner of Tencap, an independent advisory firm that was built to provide education and coaching to investors. Greg is a strong voice for financial critical thinking. He has shared his message in documentaries, books, articles, audio programs and workshops. His enthusiasm to illustrate financial principles is evident whenever he speaks.
Thanks for sharing Greg, so excited for FBC’14 on Saturday!