- What is the biggest financial accomplishment you have achieved in the last month?
What about the last 6 months?
What about the last year?
So maybe your New Year’s resolutions haven’t paned out like you thought, but it doesn’t mean you can’t pick them back up and get on track before the end of the year or find new goals worth pursuing. Setting goals is the first step to this whole process, and if you haven’t done that, then spend just 15-30 minutes with a pen and paper and write out some goals (financial and non-financial) that you have for you and your family. We spend the vast majority of our life working, so why not periodically sit down for 30 minutes to find where you would like to be headed! Your goal list should include setting timeframes for when you would like to accomplish each of these goals. It could be very short (within the month), or it could be longer-term in nature like five years.
Create an Action Plan
Then, create a plan of attack on how you can accomplish your goals. It’s one thing to say “save for retirement,” and it’s an entirely different thing to put pen to paper and say, “I want to save $X/Y% to my IRA this year by putting in $Z per month.” Figure out if you will have to make any budgetary adjustments to shift your priorities in order to get there. Having a succinct action plan with details on checkpoints along the way will meaningfully improve your ability to actually accomplish those goals.
Time for a Check-Up
In looking at your answers to the questions at the top of this post, have you noticed a trend? Have you made improvements over the last year or have you stagnated? Just as it’s important to actually set financial goals, it’s important to keep up with them over time to see that you are accomplishing them. Especially with the compounding effect of savings over time, the more you let your goals go by the wayside, the worse shape you will be in when you finally come to your senses 5, 10, 15 years later…
Right the Ship
If you’ve fallen off the wagon (New Year’s resolutions often come to mind as the first goals to go by the wayside each year!), then find a way to get back on track. It’s better to get on track late than it is to never be on track, so find ways to begin meeting those goals or even ways to make up for lost progress if you’re able!
AJ: Outlining this made me a little misty! The year certainly isn’t over yet but what a great year it has been. I’m more proud this year of our accomplishments than any year prior. We are overwhelmingly blessed, for sure!
Biggest financial accomplishment in the last month: Planning for and purchasing two large, statement pieces of art with proceeds going to an organization we’re passionate about. Much like in our last post on budget myth busting, being on a budget doesn’t mean you’re cheap and can’t give back to causes that mean most to you.
Biggest financial accomplishment in the last six months: Selling our first house and buying our second house.
Biggest financial accomplishment in the last year: Taking my parents on a fully paid-for-in-advance trip of a lifetime.
None of our goals and accomplishments this year have been anything close to an impulse buy, but with proper planning and enough time, most anything is possible!
- So, what’s on your list?
Are you where you thought you would be?
What are you doing to get back on track and heading toward your goals?
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