Putting Your 2018 Financial Goals in Motion
By Joseph James Francis, Financial Advisor and Money Coach, Budget Boss
IF YOU ARE like me, 2017 was a blur. It seems like Just yesterday I put up that new calendar and poof, the year is almost over.
Every year around Christmastime, I take stock of my financial situation and try to gauge if this year was better than the last. It is my goal to slowly but surely get a little more financially secure with every passing year. Growing my net worth, staying out of debt and fattening up that investment account are all on the table. For me, setting financial goals has been extremely important to my growth.
I always ask my clients: What are your financial goals? Where do you want to be in one year? Five years? Twenty-five years? Often, I get a blank stare. The sad truth is, many of us know we want to be better financially, we just don’t know how to go about it. Goal-setting wasn’t taught in school (well, at least not in mine) and being financially fit requires the setting and obtaining of goals. Consider the following points about why it is so important to set financial goals.
1. Money means nothing, it is simply a tool to achieve goals. People often tell me money isn’t important. Well, yes and no. No, it is not what’s most important. Family, friends, safety, security, health, adventure and prosperity all trump money. However, money is the tool you use to obtain and protect all that matters to you. Family is what’s most important. You need money to care for them and protect them. The fact of the matter is to accomplish anything worthwhile in life, you will need money. Goals are the monetary barometer of what money can do for you.
2. Accomplishing goals is addicting. Nothing, and I mean nothing, feels better than accomplishing a goal you set for yourself. I remember when I paid off my student loan. I felt like complete and utter garbage while saving up to do it. I felt like it would never end. Slowly but surely the numbers kept going down. The day I walked into the bank and handed over a wad of cash to pay it off, a huge weight fell off my shoulders. It made me super excited to see what I could do next. Believe me when I say, accomplishing a financial goal will lead to many more great feats in the future.
3. It is what will make everything else make sense. Hate your job? I’m sure many of you do. Don’t like putting away money every month? Unless you are a freak like me, saving money every month is not as exciting as spending it on something fun. Does paying bills suck? Not having heat, internet and a roof over your head sucks even more. Providing for your family or bettering your life is what matters. There will always have to be sacrifices to achieve greatness. Setting those goals will get you through the lonely night with Netflix while your friends are on vacation. Let’s be honest, no one really wants to eat healthy. We all would love a six-pack though. Setting the goals makes the broccoli taste alright.
Another question comes up when it comes to financial goal setting: What kinds of financial goals should I be setting? The answer is different for everyone, but I have come across some common financial goals during my time as a money coach.
1. Debt. No one likes being in debt and getting out of it is usually goal number one.
2. Savings. Many people live paycheque to paycheque, so building up some emergency savings is also very common.
3. Housing. Home ownership is still “The Canadian Dream”, so saving for that down payment or paying down an existing mortgage is a huge goal.
4. Saving for retirement. We all know that we must save for retirement, and often getting started is the hardest part, so opening that investment account is a common goal.
5. Starting your own business. Going out on your own requires a business mind—and also savings. Getting together the funds to start your own business is a noble goal indeed.
Those are just a few of the goals I often come across, but all it takes it some self-reflection to establish your own set of goals. Look at your life and identify what you don’t like. It could be where you live, where you work, what you don’t have or what you need. All those issues require goals to be set. It is often best to start from the end to get to the start.
The last important question is how do you go about accomplishing these goals? Well, like anything in your financial life, it all starts with the budget. You must set aside a little every month (this is extra money from your fixed expenses) to obtain your goals.
Once you know what you can spare every month for goal obtainment you have to calculate how long it will take. This is often the depressing part. It may seem daunting to stare down the long goal timeline. Just remember that it must start somewhere. Also remember that time flies, often faster than you would wish. Make sure that as that time is flying by, you are knocking out some serious goal gains while you’re at it.
I am so passionate about setting financial goals that I am having a workshop on setting solid financial goals for 2018. Join me on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 5 p.m. while I show you how to set and achieve financial goals. We will be holding this workshop in the beautiful Innovation Works, 201 King Street, in downtown London. It is sure to be a fun-filled night with a little education thrown in!
If you can’t make it, don’t fret. This December starts the monthly Budget Boss Seminar Series to help you on your financial journey. Like us on Facebook to get all the updates and daily content as you go down the path to Financial Freedom!
Joseph James Francis is Financial Advisor and Money Coach with Budget Boss and www.budgetboss.ca