Goodbye 2015, hello, new year!
The new year is upon us and most of us have already set goals and new initiatives for 2016. The feeling of a fresh start gives us the momentum that helps fuel our minds to be better and stronger than we were a year ago. Whether it be starting a new fitness routine, making vertical career moves, or improving our financial situation, 2016 is the time to make it happen. But what happens when that new feeling dissipates, and other things come in the way of those goals, pulling our focus in different directions? When we begin to lose sight of these resolutions, were not only breaking promises we’ve made to ourselves, we’re setting aside goals, we’ve considered valuable to our well-being.
Financial goals are usually at the top of most people’s list of resolutions (who’s not hoping for prosperity?). And so many of us begin the new year analyzing our finances and investments in hopes of getting our financial house in order. We create budgets to track spending patterns, find ways to save more money and even evaluate our portfolios to see how we can earn more with our investments. Yet somewhere along the way many of us will lose sight of these goals. And one of the most important resolutions we can make is to make sure we are financially healthy now and for the years that lie ahead of us.
Here’s how you can stick to your financial goals in 2016:
Analyze your finances
Like with all goals we set for ourselves, we must recognize what needs improvement before we make a resolution to change. The same applies to your financial health. By analyzing your finances and tracking spending patterns you’ll be able to determine whether you need to make some changes to your spending habits, or allocating more towards your retirement.
Making any financial goals without properly evaluating your financial situation, will just set you up for failure. Now understanding what specifically needs improvement, can help you map out a plan to get you there successfully.
Dump your advisor
With every new year, many of us not only re-evaluate things we’d like to do differently, but also our connections and relationships. It’s a perfect time to clean house, if you will. Some of us may decide we no longer wish to nurture toxic friendships, or acquaintances that don’t reciprocate. This is also a time, when we may evaluate those who provide a service, such as financial advisors.
Do you have a financial advisor? If your financial advisor is not helping you attain the results you’ve been looking for, you should make it one of your goals to ask, why? Question his/her dedication to helping you reach your financial goals and ask for clarity about the current strategy. If he/she cannot address your concerns, or provide a roadmap to reaching your financial goals, it may be time to change. Having this conversation could help you catch discrepancies, or even be the deciding factor in looking for professional help elsewhere.
Exercise due diligence
Many times, we’ll blindly rely on the advice of our advisors without thinking twice about the decisions they’ve made, or will make with our funds. While many of us will admit we need the help of professionals to make better investment decisions, simply trusting our advisors without knowing the exact details, or the best solution, is not wise. Many firms look to push their incentivized financial products on to their clients, even if those products are not what’s best for the clients’ current situation and timeframe.
Practice due diligence as an investor. Ask questions and question the strategy. You should be able to receive clear answers, every time. An advisor that’s not willing to explain the process, or why that’s the best option for your timeline, may be hiding something. After all, it is your money. You have every right to ask away. The more you do your own research and stay informed on how your money is working for you, the easier it will be to reach your financial goals. It makes a big difference when you could avoid a potential pitfall, before it’s too late.
How can you possibly stay on track with your financial resolutions, if you’re not current on factors that affect your investments? It’s absolutely vital to keep abreast of economic affairs and news that could potentially impact your finances. In the same manner, you should never invest and forget. Knowing what your options are, can keep you ahead of the game, as well as help you see if you should be making changes to your current strategy.
Sticking to your financial goals throughout the new year requires just the same dedication and determination as any other resolution. Are you ready to get financially fit in 2016?
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