You may have dreams of what you would like to do…someday. Maybe when you have a better job. Someday when things are going right for you. Someday when you have enough money. But have you really analyzed those dreams? It may be time to turn those dreams into SMART goals in order to attack them and make someday a real day in your future. While your ultimate goal will be at the front of your mind, you will need a few intermediary goals to get you there. Here are a few for you to consider.
It should be no surprise that in order to reach the financial dreams you have, you will need to have more money. How do you get more money? By not spending everything you make. Often times we think, “If only I could get a raise, or a job that pays better, or win the lottery!” All of those things would help you pad your bank account, as long as you don’t spend the money as soon as it comes in. A change in income will only net you savings if you keep your expenses static. Change your lifestyle, and that will be your new normal, but not necessarily take you to the next level.
How much should you save? Once you have put away a reasonable emergency fund (about 3-6 months of your current salary), aim for about 25-40% of your income. To figure out how much that is per month (or per paycheck), you will need to look at your spending plan.
Manage and Organize
Hopefully, you already have a spending plan in place for yourself. If not, that should be your first order of business. You have no idea how much you can reasonably save until you compare your income and expenses. Once you have done that, you will be able to see what expenses you can trim down to create more savings.
Arrange a Protection Plan
Even though you have an emergency fund in place, it’s your hope to never need to use it. Instead, protect your assets, should the worst-case arise. Investigate insurance to cover your valuables, such as your home, your car, etc. Also, consider your best use of health insurance. If something should happen to you and prevent you from working for a period of time, disability insurance may help cover your major expenses while you recover so you don’t need to deplete your emergency fund.
Becoming debt-free is often like tearing down a mountain one pebble at a time. The size of your mountain may vary from others, but chances are you won’t be able to wipe it out with one clean shot. (However, if you DO happen across a windfall, it is a wise idea to use it to pay off your debt.) The idea is you want to stop paying for nothing (loan or credit card interest) so you can put your money toward your actual smart goals. So, while you are putting away savings, take out a portion to pay down that debt as quickly as possible.
You may have had money trouble in the past. Analyze what you struggled with. Overspending? Overcharging credit cards? Not paying off debt? Be honest with yourself; then dust yourself off and tell yourself you’re starting fresh. Be mindful of the mistakes you have made before and explain to yourself that you are a different person now. Anybody can change. Move on with the things you need to do to put yourself in a better position. Align yourself with the right people, not the ones who encourage you to spend heavily. And most importantly, keep focused on your smart goals. If you have a goal of buying your own home, post a picture of your dream home somewhere near where you spend most of your time. Remind yourself that foregoing coffee at Starbucks today equals more money toward that home tomorrow.
If you have been reading this and saying, “Yes! Those are already my financial goals. I just want to know how to reach them,” then it is time for you to get in touch with The Hopman Group and see how you can amplify your wealth.