It's the same old story of a new beginning. As we larder the spoils of Christmas and focus our attention to a January reboot, undoubtedly some versions of post-holiday fitness or finance resolutions are nagging away at us. Unfortunately, our earnest commitments wane as the calendar pages flip-over.
Predictably, the success or failure of your plans may be determined even before the strike of midnight. 'Tis the season for peak gym-membership sales and promises of budgeted spending. Whatever your goals are for 2015, there are a couple of safeguards you can implement to ensure that you aspirations are accomplished.
1) Less is more. Remember that the most successful resolutions are an incremental change, rather than something radical. Completely altering the way you live isn't a strategy that is likely to last. To increase your success, save your the drive-through coffee habit for Mondays only, rather than vowing to never to drive-through again.
2) If you can't say "no," just say "later." When it comes to consumption, delaying is as useful as reducing. Even those who cannot resist temptation can put it off. Delaying still provides anticipation, diffusing the agony of refusal, yet the unspent money remains in your possession. This simple action gives you more options and keeps debt at bay longer. Walmart is famed for "just-in-time" inventory, which revolutionized retail profits. On a much smaller scale, this can impact your personal balance sheet as well, while empowering you in your decisions.
3) Resolutions are often too vague, esoteric or unrealistic to be actionable. Decreeing a plan to reduce spending is too loosely defined to do anything specific about. Set your objectives around distinct actions and break down your budget to terms you can immediately relate to. Keeping $250 per week in your wallet, rather than a pie-in-the-sky budgetary limit of $1000 for the month, is much easier to track and associate with.
4) Teenagers don't find it easy to save for retirement for a good reason.
Goals set too far into the future, with no intermediate feedback, are difficult to attach to or keep. It's fine to start big, but break it into smaller goals. Saving a Million dollars begins with what you can afford to save. Keeping it relevant, like saving for your first home or something else with bragging rights helps to keep your eye on the prize especially when it's within your reach and the foreseeable future.
5) It's the action that makes it a success, not the amount. If a goal is too difficult to achieve, you're setting yourself up for failure. A desperate approach is never a good one. By being realistic, your success rate improves dramatically. If you've delayed saving for your child's education, guiltily over-committing financial resources to catch-up, will only cause other issues or force you to abandon the plan altogether. There is real value in making a proportioned contribution. Putting something toward the goal, regardless of the quantity, is a swift step against doing nothing.
It takes more than a strong sense of conviction to realize wealth. Many of us don't know where to begin. This is where involving a professional can help. If you're going through the pains of saving, you might as well spend time to learn about the right places to invest or the most effective strategy for paying off debt. If however, this becomes a stumbling block, it's still better to put your money into the unheralded savings account rather than getting frustrated and doing nothing or making a mistake with those hard-saved dollars.
Financial prosperity begins with the end in mind. The easier you make the process for yourself, the more likely you'll find that your fortunes are in your hands. Have a prosperous 2015!