Guest Post by Chelsea Murphy from Cash Full Stop.
Are you blown away by how fast this year is flying by? We’re already a quarter of the way through 2019 so it seems like a great time to take a moment to pause, review and reset. Do you remember the financial goals you set? How are they tracking? Are they still relevant or have your priorities changed? Did you even get around to goal setting or is your 2019 goal writing session still on your ‘to do list’? Whatever your situation, now is the perfect time to make sure your next step forward is supporting you to achieve financial confidence.
So, reviewing your money and getting on top of your finances is all about knowing what’s important to you. It sounds a bit fluffy, but this is actually fundamental to every financial decision you make. That’s because when you know your values you stop spending money impulsively and unnecessarily. You won’t get swayed with other people’s opinions of what you should or shouldn’t be doing and you will let your values and goals decide every move you make. But how do you know what’s important to you?
Bring out your diary and start brainstorming. Ask yourself “What do I value the most in my life?”. Then ask yourself “Why are each of these important to me?”. Ultimately what we’re trying to understand is – what makes you happy? Because if everything you’re doing doesn’t create happiness or lead you to your purpose, then why do it? Refine your list so you have a really clear idea of what brings you joy and why.
Now that you know the details of what is creating happiness in your life, review your current goals:
Tip: Our AOL mid-year diary is perfect for this! It has thorough goal planning & budgeting pages!
- How are you tracking with them?
- Are they goals with a date, financial value, and ‘why’ element?
- Do your goals align to the values that have identified as important to you today?
Here’s an example: “I want to save $5,000 to go to Queenstown with my bestie in September 2019 because New Zealand has been on my bucket list for years. I want to be in nature, relax and see and do new things that inspire me. I’m working hard and this will help me reset.”
Essentially, you want goals that excite and energise you. Check in with your goals to ensure they are specific and hitting the mark in terms of motivating you.
It’s one thing to have big beautiful goals but you need to make sure you have crunched the numbers behind it to make it happen. With NZ in our sights let’s think about how you can make something like that happen. You want $5,000 and the date you have in mind is 20 weeks away so $5,000/20 = $250. Do you have the capacity to put away $250 per week until then? How can you think outside the box to make it happen, in terms of spending less or earning more? Are there any large sums that you could be receiving between now and your trip that could help e.g. a tax return? Does the date of your goal need to be reconsidered i.e. should it be the following year or could a trip somewhere closer bring the same level of satisfaction?
When you start thinking about the financial levers to make your dream come to life, think really big. Think of things you’ve never tried, and give them a go to see what works. Remember, the goal you have should be interesting enough for you to really drive for it because that’s how big things happen - It’s all about small steps in the right direction.
If you feel like you’ve got great goals, and you have set out a financial plan to make them happen but they just haven’t happened then maybe the missing piece is seeing those goals in a way that helps you achieve them? You should be loud and proud with your goals so they shape your every decision.
Here’s an example:
You find an amazing picture of New Zealand and write your goal on it. You also want to include a line that starts at $0 and ends in $5,000. You pop that picture up on your bathroom mirror and each week you mark how much closer you are to $5,000. Every morning and night, while you brush your teeth or do your skincare routine, you see what you are striving for. This approach helps to reinforce every positive action you have made towards that amazing trip and every week you can see yourself getting closer and closer to what you want. Keep your goal at the forefront of your mind by making it physically present in your life. Place a picture on your coffee machine, update your screensaver or perhaps add a postcard to your work desk. It’s all about keeping focused on what’s important to you.
The great thing about this approach to financial goal setting is that you can apply it to any goal – saving, debt reduction, investing or creating a financial buffer for yourself. The fundamentals are the same for each of those scenarios - it comes down to understanding yourself to set a clear vision and goals that will bring you sustained happiness. And of course, taking specific action. So, get out that pen and diary to review your goals (or write them) and place them somewhere that you will see them frequently. Monitor your progress regularly to see how you are tracking to reach that big, beautiful place of fun and fulfilment.