Setting and Making Realistic Financial New Year’s Resolutions

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Setting and Making Realistic Financial New Year’s Resolutions


Making Realistic Financial Resolutions

December 16, 2013

It is almost that time of season when you will begin to ponder your new year’s resolution.  Will it be exercise?  Will it be a new diet? Or will it have something to do with improving your family finances.  Making resolutions (or goals) can be a very difficult process because it often makes you face some of your own realities like it or not.   When you decide to set goals that are realistic, I have been a big cheerleader over the years to use the S-M-A-R-T goal setting system.  Here is how it works.

*S is for Specific– Be very specific about what you are trying to accomplish.  Don’t tell yourself you want to pay down debt.  Instead, give yourself a specific goal such as paying off $10,000 of debt.

*M is for Measurable– Have a way to track your progress.   In the last example, make a chart for paying off $833 a month and cross it off each month when you hit the goal.

*A is for Attainable– Goal setting is often 90% mental.   If your mind can believe the goal is possible, the rest of you will follow.

*R is for Realistic– If you have $50,000 of debt and make $50,000 of income, you probably aren’t going to pay it all off in one year as a goal.  Make sure you are pragmatic in your goal setting process.

*T is for Time bound– This is extremely crucial in the goal and resolution setting process.  Don’t say you will lose 15 pounds.  Set a specific goal such as losing 15 pounds by the end of March 2014.

Here are 8 Your Smart Money Moves realistic financial resolution’s you can pick from in your goal setting stocking stuffer.

  1. Get A Virtual On Line Budget/Spending Plan- We have online software to help you at to get on track with this goal.  You can also use online software programs like or use Quicken.
  2. Be able to explain just ‘ONE’ mutual fund in your 401(k)- It’s amazing the number of college graduates and MBA’s who can’t a) name one fund in their 401(k) and b) if they can name it they don’t know what the investment owns.  It’s time to get educated and empowered around your finances.  Learn how your 401(k) really works.
  3. Make a savings goal- Whether its 10% of your salary or $10,000, pick a realistic number that you can save.  It was exciting to see one of my clients have a goal of $50,000 savings this year and hit $62,500.  Track it monthly.
  4. Do A Net Worth Statement- How do you know where are going if you don’t know where you are at?  Figure out your net worth as a starting point as this is a great year to year baseline for setting goals.
  5. Shop Your Bills- We are in a ‘no read’ society today with online bill pay.  What would happen if you treated your family like a business and called every vendor to see where you could save money?
  6. Implement The Rule Of 1/3rds- So to not have your lifestyle outstrip the growth of your income, a great resolution is to ‘save’ one third of every bonus and pay raise you get.
  7. Stop writing checks- Haven’t you noticed the big banks still want $20 for a refill on your checks? Vow to not write one check this year.  Bet you can do it and you can save time and money.
  8. Get a will done- if you don’t have a will, it’s likely your state has one for you.   Thus, having one gives you a lot more control. Besides, now you may have been married, divorced, have kids, live in a different state, etc. all which may have changed your scenario to update a will or get it done for the first time.

Making smart money moves can be the key to success or failure in your overall financial plan.   Pick just one or two financial resolutions and write that goal down somewhere you can track it, inspect it, and make it visible.  You’ll be well on your way to more financial success in 2014.

Written by:

Ted Jenkin

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