Make SMART Financial Moves in 2021
We made it to 2021! A year like 2020 stretched us thin in many aspects of our lives and that may have included your finances. If you feel you can improve on your finances in 2021 and want to make it a priority, I want to provide you a framework to get started in 2021.
Improving your finances is more than dollars and cents, which is why it is so important to start with a vision… a purpose….. a why…… Call it what you want, but you need to focus on what you actually care about. The best way to hone in on this is by reflecting on your life and what gives you the most joy and what you value the most.
What will your life look like if you improve your finances?
How will you feel with finances that are in better shape?
What else is possible if you can take control of your financial situation?
Next, you need to plan. Sustainable improvements do not happen by accident. You need to create a plan that allows you to be successful. You’ve probably heard of making SMART goals. The reason for having SMART goals is so you have a roadmap on how to achieve your goals, which will make it easier for you to get started and easily track your progress.
Let’s break down SMART goals.
Specific: It needs to be as specific as possible. The vaguer you are, the less you’ll care about actually achieving it.
- Non-Specific Example: I would like to be better with my finances
- Specific Example: I will pay off all of my credit card debt.
Measurable: The nice thing about finances, is it can be easily measured. With debts, we want to see the number go down. With assets, we want that number to go up. Additionally, when you can measure progress, you can create byte-sized goals to achieve along the way.
- Non-Measuable Example: I want to feel better about my finances.
- Measurable Example: I would like to contribute 10% of my income towards my 401(k)
Attainable: You want to believe that you are capable of achieving your goal. Did you know that confidence in being successful is a big factor in actually being successful? If it’s a pipe dream, then you likely won’t even try.
- Non-Attainable: I want to make a million dollars this year without having to work.
- Attainable Example: I want to increase my earning power by 10%.
Relevant: You have to care about your goal. If it’s not relevant to what you care about, then you won’t put in the work to make it happen, or worse, you’ll invest your time, energy, and money into something you didn’t even want.
- Non-Relevant Example: I want to get a master’s degree because it’s what you’re supposed to do for your current career trajectory, but you really want to make a career change.
- Relevant Example: I want to attend a Tech Bootcamp so I can make a career change into a field that I’m excited about.
Time-Based: Deadlines help us be more productive. Without a time constraint and because of human nature, we’re more likely to put off starting in the first place.
- Non-Time-Based Example: I would like to get married soon.
- Relevant Example: I would like to get married next year.
All of these examples are from conversations I’ve had with clients. It’s amazing how making SMART goals help you start to build the life you actually want to create and stop saying one day I’ll …… or it would be nice to …….