Making your financial resolutions for the New Year work is all about developing a plan. Here are some helpful tips to help you along the way, and ensure you get to reap the rewards
Don’t get fuzzy
Be bold and set clear goals. What’s been on your mind most this year? Credit card debts? Overspending? Wanting to save for a home? An underperforming super fund? The more you can narrow your focus, the more precisely you can zero in on the problem and how to fix it with the right solution.
Work smarter, not harder
Start with the basics. Before you start delving into your statements, you may be able to give your new year a boost just by shopping around for a better credit provider, or a new financial institution to save or invest with. You may be incurring unnecessary fees, or earning less interest than you could be. Remember, you may be used to the comfort of being with the same old bank, but your money doesn’t care. If a quick search online, or a financial comparison website, helps you spot a better place to store your savings or invest your super, don’t wait another year — the new year is the perfect time to make a change.
Break it up
Experts say you’re more likely to make big changes if you do them in small increments. This applies as much to your finances as your diet or any other new year’s resolution. If spending is the focus, what’s one small area you can be happy budgeting? If your goal is to start generating wealth through investments, what’s the smallest amount you could be comfortable parting with? If you’re new to investing, you could start by looking into the most popular, safest investments such as term deposits — and check which financial institutions give you the best rates.
Remember, making your financial resolutions work is all about developing a sustainable and rewarding practice, piece by piece. Now that you’ve made your goals achievable let’s explore some ways to ensure that they stick.
Resolutions don’t have to be about maintaining an iron will and gritted teeth. That’s hard to keep up! Think about what you would personally respond to. How often do you do uncomfortable things just because you know they will be appreciated? Take advantage of human nature, and write yourself a simple ‘thank you’ every month for making a good attempt to meet your goals. Or allow yourself a little treat. Treat your future self with kindness, and you’ll enjoy the journey.
Don’t go it alone
Share your goals with your partner or friends. For one, saying them out loud will reinforce them. Also, your friends likely have some resolutions of their own that they’d love to keep up, but need a reminder themselves from time to time. If having a regular workout group works for you when it comes to exercise, why not use the power of mateship to get yourself financially fit?
Consider the bigger picture
Finance experts recommend focusing on the “why” of your resolution. Remind yourself of the reason you wanted to set that resolution. What’s the financial dream you’d like to make real here? A holiday? A home you’re saving for? A nest egg for your loved ones? More time to spend on something you love doing? Don’t drain your willpower by thinking about the sacrifice. Instead, focus your mind on the end result, and you may find it easier to be disciplined.
And finally… be gentle on yourself
Remember: it’s really common to slip up from time-to-time and if you do, be gentle on yourself. It takes a while to build good habits and see the results. Getting back on track with your resolutions as quickly as you can get you one step closer to your financial goals.
Any advice given is of a general nature only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please consider the appropriateness of the advice before acting.