(WLNS) – Congratulations on joining the 30 Day Money Challenge! We promise to take things slow, but steady. Here’s your first task in the challenge and it is simple – it should only take you about 20 minutes to complete.
Task 1 of the 30 Day Money Challenge: Declare your financial goals
This seems like a pretty simple task, right? Sure, on the surface, setting financial goals seems simple enough. “I need to buy a new a car soon,” or “I would like to buy a house in the future” or “I want to retire when I am 62”…etc. The challenge though is setting specific, realistic and achievable goals. Setting your goals too high will only set you up for failure and disappointment. Here are a few tips to help you be successful in achieving your financial goals.
1. Write your goals down – somewhere, anywhere. Something happens when we write down our goals that increase the likelihood that we will accomplish them. I use sticky notes and vision boards to remind me of my goals. In fact, many leaders write down their goals to achieve success, including the late Lee Iacocca, CEO of Chrysler and previously of Ford, as he once said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”
2. Plan for the worst, work for the best. I wish there were a magic answer to become masters of managing our money overnight, but short of winning the lottery, setting a retirement goal of one million dollars in the next three years while currently earning $30,000 is…a bit unrealistic, right? So, be smart in your goal setting and think in relative terms – do the math and figure out what you can realistically achieve over the course of a year without living on ramen noodles every day, and you will be successful.
3. Be timely with your goals. Separate your goals into short-term, medium-term and long-term periods. By doing this, you will create a clear plan for yourself that helps keep you on track – every step of the way.
Here’s an example:
· Your long-term goal is to buy a house in approximately 2-5 years. For that, you estimate you will need $10,000.
· In the meantime, your medium-term goal is to pay off your credit card debt totaling $2,500 in 12 months. To achieve this goal, you will need about $208 per month to pay the debt.
· The short-term goal will be to save $1,000 for a starter emergency fund as quickly as you can. You need to start saving at least $333 per month for the next three months, through either earnings or other sources of income or from selling stuff.
Inevitably, it starts with short-term goals. Once you complete each shorter term goal, you will put the money you allotted for the goal you just completed towards your next goal and so forth. By working on one goal at a time, you will grow your momentum to succeed. You can do it!