New Year, New (Financially Responsible) You
Only 25% of people include financial goals in their New Year’s resolutions (most are health related). Despite this, New Years is the perfect time to commit to becoming financially healthy. Financial stress can directly affect your health and well-being, so if you are concerned with getting healthy in the New Year, let’s add ‘become financially responsible’ to your list for this year.
Not everyone loves resolutions, but most people will admit that having clear, attainable goals make them feel good and make it more likely they will achieve them. To that end, let’s make your new financial goal achievable by putting it into four steps.
- List your financial goals. You probably have been told that you need to ‘save more’… but how ambiguous is that? Unless you know how much you are saving, and what for, it is unlikely your motivation will last long past January. Write down some specific goals you are saving for. Short term goals should be achievable within two years (travel, paying off debts), medium term goals should be the next 2-5 years (buy a home, develop a share portfolio) and long-term goals should be more than 5 years away (retire at 60).
- Set your budget and find out your net worth. This will get you organized and show your full financial picture: what you have, what you owe, and where your money goes. Otherwise, for a simple budget template, click here. The net worth statement is a snapshot of your total finances. Total all assets and liabilities, then subtract liabilities from assets. Easy. If you don’t know where to start, contact us for a free consultation.
- Compare your current financial situation to your goals. Are you on track to save a 20% home deposit by next year? Will you have enough in your super fund to retire at 60? Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
- Make an appointment to see a financial advisor. Anyone can complete steps 1 to 3 on their own but it is always worthwhile to get some professional guidance. This process doesn’t have to be intimidating; the purpose of seeing an adviser is to help you reach your goals. Ideally everyone would meet with an adviser for a full analysis and comprehensive plan; if you're not ready for that just make an initial appointment to talk through the process. At Fortress, we never charge for an initial consult, so it can't hurt to discuss your options. At the very least, you’ll pick up some tips & tricks to get you achieving your goals faster.
Fortress Financial Solutions founder Chris Black is an award-winning financial planner based in Toowoomba who specialises in superannuation, investing, business succession, cash flow management, retirement planning and personal insurances (including life insurance, income protection, total permanent disability and trauma insurance).
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This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your objectives, financial situation and needs.
This post references an article by Liz Frazier Peck on Forbes.com