The holidays have come to an end and 2015 has rolled in, giving us all a fresh start towards accomplishing new goals. Although many of us can say there have been past resolutions that we haven’t kept (not that we’re proud of this), studies show that writing down your goals can definitely improve your chances of sticking to them. Nonetheless, the New Year is a time to analyze and reflect on what areas of your life could use improvement – from your health to your wealth (prosperity anyone?). So, as you plan your resolutions for the New Year, keep in mind the following three key points when drafting your financial goals for 2015.
Step 1: Do your research
Knowledge is essential when the time comes to make decisions regarding your finances and investments. For 2015, take the initiative to gain a better understanding of how you can increase your wealth and stay financially fit by becoming familiar with your current accounts, different investment options, financial products, tax credits, and ways to save throughout the year. Not only will this help you carefully outline considered resolutions, but it will also keep you current on how to manage and invest your money more effectively. Even if you currently have a financial advisor, or money manager, you should do your due diligence to ensure your wealth is handled properly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either. Questions can also clarify misunderstandings and reveal errors that can otherwise go unnoticed for quite some time. The more research and planning you undertake, the more informed and prepared you will be to make improved decisions for reaching your financial goals.
Step 2: Consider your financial situation
Everyone’s financial situation is unique. Therefore when planning your goals, tailor them to your specific needs and aspirations. People love to give financial advice and insight, but keep in mind what works for your friends and family may not necessarily be the best option for you (thanks, but no thanks). If you do find the need to seek advice, consider a professional such as a certified financial planner. Therefore, analyze your current finances (or sit down with a professional) and make plans for a more prosperous year based on your actual situation. It doesn’t make much sense to set goals that don’t coincide with your current financial state, so, be realistic when drafting clear objectives. Tying your goals to your unique situation will ensure you’re proactively working to accomplish tasks, which will improve the quality of your life and save you time along the way.
Step 3: Be specific, yet realistic
If your resolutions usually sound something along the lines of “saving more”, or “spending less,” perhaps 2015 is the year to do things differently. You should be re-assessing your finances often, but if you’re not creating objectives that easily measure your progress, you’re not doing yourself much of a favor. Take the time to create detailed, yet attainable financial goals by being as specific as you possibly can (i.e. “I plan to invest $20,000 in alternative investments offering more than 5% in the next 24 months.”). This will help you envision your plans – creating a much more effective strategy for accomplishing tasks.
It’s also important to remember that wealth creation is a process; and that process usually requires a timeline. By forcing yourself to create goals that can be easily measured, you’re much more likely to hold yourself accountable for making them happen. Not to mention, it’s a simplified method for tracking your progress (numbers are easier to track than general ideas). So, instead of setting vague expectations, take a few weeks to think your resolutions through. Once you do, you’ll soon start to see you’re setting yourself up for success – a pattern that will motivate you to pursue even larger financial goals in the future.