Setting Your 2018 Financial Goals
January 2, 2018
Between December 31st and January 1st there’s plenty of talk about financial resolutions, but at eight days into the new year, how many have you already broken? Personally, I’ve already broken two… I had promised myself that I would work out everyday and cut sugar from my diet, and failed so far on both accounts. Rough start. But I have kept the big one: allocate money from my paycheque immediately into savings and investment accounts to ensure I don’t spend it elsewhere. I won’t be rewarding myself with chocolate, but maybe a small happy dance.
The point isn’t to quit after initial failure, it’s to keep trying and identify ways to ensure ultimate success come next December. Financial resolutions can be challenging ones to integrate into daily life because there’s often a learning curve; if you haven’t successfully budgeted or invested before, it’s likely because you don’t feel familiar with allocating money or with the stock market – or just don’t know how to get started. Somehow algebra was deemed to be universally useful in high school, but the stock market wasn’t.
Beyond that, perhaps you were just so relieved to see the backend of 2017 that you haven’t sat down to really consider what you want to achieve or change about your life in 2018. Now’s the time to dig in. Once you’ve figured out your goals, the next step is to ensure you’ll stick to them.
Here’s how to make financial resolutions you’ll keep:
Don’t make them vague
Set very specific goals that’ll be clear as to whether you’re achieving them on a monthly basis. For example, “I want to save enough to take a trip this year,” is not a clear goal. But “I want to save $400 every month so that I can go on vacation this year” is very clear, and easy to determine success. For goals like this, set up an individual account that only holds your vacation savings, that way you can see exactly how much you have month over month, without needing to worry about other expenses coming out of that account. Further, set up the account so that you can’t access it from the ATM, lessening the temptation to spend the cash on a whim.
Keep them focused
Narrow your list down to two or three resolutions, maximum. It’s not the time to be overachievers. If these were life goals, we’d say shoot for the moon, but because we’re talking financial goals and there is only so much money to spread out, keep your objectives for 2018 targeted. Being specific makes your goals far more attainable and success is the name of the game!