Happy New Year! I hope that you had the chance to have a break, slow down and enjoy the Christmas/new year period. I spent a great couple of weeks on the beach with my family enjoying downtime and planning for a great 2019.
As life slows down in January, many of us turn our minds to the year ahead. Some of us may even make ‘resolutions’. I don’t make resolutions myself, but I do set goals. Goals for me personally and in business life. These goals become the benchmark with which I measure my success throughout the year.
Usually I find the process of setting goals and recording them down somewhere to be the best way to ensure that they actually happen. It takes ideas from the eternal floating universe of my mind and makes them something more concrete.
So, have you set goals for 2019?
Do you remember when you were a kid and time seemed to take forever. The school year would drag on and on and on, Christmas seemed like it would never come, well, as I write this blog, I am 37 years old and time seems to go pretty fast. Before we know it, it will be Easter. There are already Easter eggs in the shops. So how do we set goals that won’t get lost in the rush? Here’s 3 ideas to get you going.
1: Goals don’t have to be huge.
Small changes = big outcomes. What small changes can you make that will have a big outcome towards your goal. If we look at health, it could be an increase in activity or a lowering of sugar. Both of these things are easily achievable and are not so daunting that they seem unattainable, yet, after 12 months of activity and a sugar detox, your body will feel very different.
How about money? Well, what if you decided to take lunch to work rather than buying it? Let’s say you spend $15 on lunch and $4 on coffee 5 days a week. That’s $95 per week. Let’s be realistic and assume that you will continue to buy lunch on a Friday and maybe Coffee two other days. So, for that we will allow a total weekly spend of $23. That’s $72 less than you currently spend.
After 12 months you will have $3,744 saved, just from this small change.
What other small changes could you make that would all add up to something great?
2: Make your goals fun.
Having cash in the bank is great, but it’s not that fun to look at a bank balance. In previous blogs I have spoken about spending your values and as an extension of that, I am going to tell you to align your goals with your values also. Travel is something that is very important to myself and my family. So, we like to have a travel plan to work towards. It is not just to save up a certain amount of money to go on a holiday, we go deeper than that.
It may look something like this.
We would like to travel to Europe for Christmas in two years, this means we will need to start booking things in around 1 year. In order for us to do this we will need to have the following in place.
$ for the trip
$ in other savings so we are not depleting our savings for the trip
$ in our emergency fund
$ for this in place in 12 months or we can’t book our trip at all.
Working towards a trip works for me. For you it might be something else. It might be that if you can save $3,000 this year by adjusting your eating out and supermarket shopping then you can spend $1,000 on something you have been wanting to buy for a long time. It doesn’t matter what it is, and you don’t need to feel guilty about spending the money.
Set your goals around something that you want to work towards, something you value and something that will give you a sense of satisfaction when you achieve it.
3: Stop living on the edge of the abyss, plan to start planning.
Ok, so point number three is less of a way to set goals and more of a goal itself. This is a goal that everybody should have.
Most people go from week to week, month to month with no idea what is happening with their money. They are allowing their life to be dictated by how much is in the bank and disaster is usually just around the corner. One unfortunate event, as small as a car breaking down can mean that their finances are turned upside down, credit cards are used and then life gets harder. There are a few simple steps to take to make sure that this is not you. One of them, one of the simplest and most important is to set up your emergency fund.
What is an emergency fund?
It is a bank account that sits around, not doing much, being really lazy until the time comes when you need it. It is the bank account you turn to when the car breaks down, the washing machine stops, you have an out of pocket medical bill. All the things that can push you over the edge. Starting small is fine, why not try to get $2,000 into an emergency account for the little annoying things that just might happen. This will save you going to credit cards or personal loans to deal with things that should not put you into debt.
(For info on paying down credit cards, click here)
2019 is going to be great. We have some great plans and are looking forward to sharing them with you.
Hit me up with any questions you have about goals or personal finance and feel free to share this post with anyone who you think would benefit from the info within.
Most of all, have a great day.
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Ben Graham-Nellor is an advisor, coach, blogger and speaker who has worked in the financial services industry for over 15 years.
BGN Financial Management Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative 468796 of Professional Investment Services Pty Ltd AFSL 234951 ABN 11 074 608 558 www.centrepointalliance.com.au
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