Many people make a serious new years resolution to get their money and finances organised.  This new year, our financial planners we show you the steps to take to make this an actual action, instead of yet another new years resolution to break.  These 6 Steps to Achieving your Financial New Years Resolutions can help to ensure you’ll stay focused and have a much greater chance of achieving the financial goals you want to achieve in 2011.

The 6 Steps to Achieving Your Financial New Years Resolutions:

1. Be Specific In Your Financial Goals
As financial planners, we often hear our clients say: “we want to be better off” without specifying what “better off” means to them.  Setting a goal to be merely “better off” is not really that specific, and you’ll find that if you’re not more specific with what you actually want to achieve, you’ve got less chance of actually achieving it.  A good example is a dart board – you know exactly what you’re aiming at when you throw the dart – if the target was some abstract idea somewhere on the wall, your chances of hitting it are slim.  What if you’re not sure about what you should be aiming at?  Start with that abstract idea, and work on it from there.  Examples of goals may be “I want to buy and investment property this year” or “I want to halve the amount of tax I pay” or “I want to lose 5kg over the next 4 months”.  Seeing an independent financial planner is a great way of getting objective help to start identifying your financial goals.

2. Measure it
If you can measure it, you can be accountable for it.  Simply wanting to lose weight could be weiging 75kg at the start of the year and weighing 74kg by the end of the year.  Is that what you really wanted to do?  Somethings are black and white such as quitting smoking – you either do, or you don’t, but areas such as money, health and much more are measureable things.  Wanting to buy a house or pay half the amount of tax are things you can measure, so you will know how far you have to go to achieve your goal.  If you’ve only saved half the deposit, you now you’re half way there.  If you’ve lost 3kg of your 5kg goal, you know you’re over the half way point.  When you’re coming up with a plan for action, you should set a measurable financial goal that is realistic and achievable.  A good example of this might be, “I want to save $XXX per week”. By setting a concrete number you’ll know how successful you’ve been and are better able to measure your success at reaching your goals.

3. Keeping it real
“I want to make 100 billion dollars!” – I’m sorry, it’s unlikely that we (or any financial planner) can help you with that one.  While we’re big fans of thinking and aiming big, you have to pick a financial goal that is actually possible for you to achieve.  One thing to keep in mind, however – about 50% of people that we meet for a goal setting session pick goals that are actually BELOW what they can achieve.  So if you’re unsure about your options, opportunities and true potential, get some professional financial advice to help you work it out.  There is no point in saying “I want to lose 100g this year” when you know that you can do better.

4. What on earth are you thinking?
Some things that we truly want may be a little bit left of centre – a little bit quirky.  There is nothing wrong with that.  However, keep in mind that some of the bigger things that you may want to acheive may fit into a bigger picture.  Make sure you have the best knowledge of what that picture is going to look like.  Does your new years resolution fit into that big picture?  If you’re big picture is living along healthy life and seeing great grand children being born, then giving up smoking or losing weight may fit into that very well.  For your financial future, things like investing, saving and paying less tax can also fit into that big picture.  You don’t have to keep things relevant, you just have to be AWARE if your resolution is adding to the big picture or not.  By having a concise idea of what you’re aiming for in achieving your goals, you’re more likely to stay on track throughout the year.

5. Tick Tock – watch the clock
“I want to make a million dollars” – quite easy really, just working for long enough and in time, you would have been paid a million dollars.  “I want to make a million dollars in the next 2 years” – all of a sudden, we have a goal that is measureable in both quantum and time.  Setting time limits is just another method of measuring your achievements.  It’s a vital part of got setting and achievement and can not be skipped if you’re serious about success.

6. Get help
So many people try and do it all themselves.  There is nothing wrong with getting a little bit of help along the way.  Not sure what to eat?  See someone that understands nutrition.  Want to give up smoking and find it a struggle, see your doctor.  Need to work out how to make more money? See an independent financial planner.  We are professionals and might just show you a new way to do something, or a potential to make or save money that you might not know about.

Not sure who to see?  Just make sure that who you’re seeing has your best interests at heart.  Make sure if someone is talking food, they don’t have a hidden agenda (such as trying to convert you to their way of thinking rather than giving you the facts).  Make sure your doctor sees the world the way you do, and for money, make sure how you’re seeing has the least amount of conflicts of interest (ie, no commission, not working for a bank or product provider etc).  If you’re going to get some help on any topic, just make sure you’re seeing the right people.

So, there you have it – a few simple steps to get you that little bit closer to making 2011 the one that you want it to be. Happy New Year from all the team at Financial Spectrum.

For more information about or to book your complimentary first financial planning meeting with a Sydney Financial Planner, visit us at www.financialspectrum.com.au  or call 1300 886 018.

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