Setting New Year’s resolutions is a tradition for millions of Americans who see January 1 as a fresh start. However, we all know how easy it is to have resolutions fall to the wayside as the year progresses.
Fortunately, if the goal you have in mind is a financial one, there are ways you can break it down into steps that will keep you motivated and on track to achieve it. Here are some tips to help you set attainable goals:
Setting aspirational goals, such as living the life you want in retirement or taking a coast-to-coast road trip, is exciting and can be a great place to start. Yet, broad goals can quickly become overwhelming, so tangible ones can help you keep the commitment. The best way to make your dreams a reality is to break each goal into small, specific tasks that are realistic to accomplish this year.
You’re not alone if you have a myriad of financial goals. However, it can be hard to achieve them all without focus or unlimited resources. Pick one or two goals, tailoring your savings, time and resources accordingly. If you have competing priorities such as saving for your child’s education and retirement, create a plan that will help you make measurable progress toward both. Remember, incremental changes (or savings) made over time can make a big difference in the long run.
Strengthen your resolve by anticipating events and triggers that might derail you from your goals such as overspending on dining out or purchasing that is outside of your budget. Be as specific as possible, and brainstorm strategies to overcome these potential obstacles. This mental exercise will help you
be more aware and better equipped to resist
Without target dates in mind, goals tend to drift. As you set deadlines for each task, consider adding a reminder on your calendar so you keep the goal a priority throughout the year. If you fall short of what you want to accomplish, don’t give up. Adjust your dates and get back on track.
If you’re married or in a committed relationship, involve your spouse or partner in financial goal setting. If your goal is a family affair, consider including your children in the process. Your children can benefit from watching you make smart financial choices. With everyone on the same page, you can support one another and overcome obstacles together.
Share your goals with your financial advisor, tax professional or estate planner, as appropriate. These specialists may be able to suggest additional strategies to help you reach your goals, while being mindful of your other financial priorities.
MICHAEL W. K. YEE, CFP
Michael W. K. Yee, CFP®, CFS®, CLTC, CRPC ®, is a Private Wealth Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Honolulu, HI. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 31 years.
Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.
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