Your guide to a prosperous year for you and the family
HEALTH and prosperity have long been customary goals for the new year. Many of us make resolutions on New Year’s Eve to achieve these twin goals.
Unfortunately, once we are back into our daily routines, life gets in the way and these goals are often discarded. Possibly because we were too ambitious, but more often than not because we didn’t commit to a plan and apply the necessary effort to changing ingrained habits.
There is nothing quite as satisfying, though, as achieving one of our resolutions. Reflect on the last one you achieved. How did you do it? Why was it achieved, over others? What plan did you make? How did you execute it?
As the saying goes, repeating the same thing over and hoping for a different result is the definition of insanity. So identify clear goals, break their execution down into monthly and weekly steps and commit.
Here are some ideas:
Goals: Write down what you want to achieve. Make different columns for your goals: you can have basic ones such as “eliminate credit cards” and bigger dreams such as “buy a house”. Write them down, be realistic and if you have a partner, make sure both of you agree on them.
Plan: A year gives you plenty of time to plan to reach your goals, but if you don’t make a plan now, chances are you will be making the same goals next year. For each goal, break its achievement into weekly, monthly and quarterly steps. Many small steps add up to big achievements.
Discipline: You can’t achieve change without hard work. So acknowledge the effort required and commit early.
Weed out: Throw out the goals you won’t follow through on and don’t sabotage yourself from the outset – if you know you won’t go to the gym every day, change it to something you will do.
Prioritise debt reduction: Achieving most financial goals involves saving of some sort, but remember if the expected return from investment of the savings is less than the interest rate of your most expensive debt (credit cards, car loans), consider paying off the debt first.
Use the market: The market for mortgages and other financial services is increasingly competitive. You can save a lot of money simply by asking your broker or adviser to check the market each year. For example, on a $300,000, 25-year mortgage at 4.65% your total interest bill is $207,941. But if you pay 5.21%, your total interest is $237,198. The difference over the long term is almost $30,000, all other things being equal.
Review your insurance needs: As you move through your career and life, your insurance needs will change. Give some thought to how your family has grown, if your job has changed, have you acquired any additional assets – and if so compare what level of cover you need to what you already have.
Advice: Acknowledge you can’t know everything, and take expert advice early – not just when you’re in trouble. A money coach will significantly improve your chances of success.
Start your plan today and make 2016 a healthy and prosperous year for you and your family.