Easy Financial Goals for 2018
Ah, a brand new year. It’s that time when we all set New Year’s resolutions and vow to be a new, better person. These goals are often lofty and not always realistic. “Lose 50 pounds in 3 months! Never eat sugar again! Stop procrastinating forever!” More often than not, we find ourselves abandoning these goals a few weeks or months down the road. It’s totally human, because you can’t change who you are overnight. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to set unrealistic goals that you give up and then feel bad about.
Like I said last week, it’s important to acknowledge your wins from 2017 before you set new goals for 2018. This exercise will show you just how successful you were, even if you didn’t realize it while you were living it. You’ll feel better about yourself and more confident about what you can achieve in 2018. When you feel self-confident, your goals will be centered more around realistic changes and achievements, rather than focused on completely changing who you are.
Are you not sure where to start when it comes to financial goals for 2018? Here are some easy (and not so easy) goals to start with this year.
Talk About Money
Okay. This isn’t easy, per se. But it is so, so important. Money talk has been considered taboo for so long that most of us live in shame when it comes to money. We feel isolated and alone in our financial struggles, because we don’t know that our friends and family are having the same exact problems.
Silence around money only leads to problems. It means we don’t have the support we need when tackling our financial goals. It means that the wage gap goes unknown and unchallenged in the workplace. It means that we hide our debt and spending habits from our loved ones until it’s out of control. It means we overspend because we’re too embarrassed to tell our friends that we can’t afford to go out to dinner. The list goes on.
So, in 2018, start talking about money. Be honest with your friends when you can’t afford to go out this week. Tell your best friend about your credit card debt (I’m sure she has some too!). Most importantly, talk about your financial goals. Be vocal about what you want to achieve this year. Share it in Money Circle! When you’ve said your goals out loud, or written them down, you’re more likely to achieve them. You’ve put them out in the universe and made them real. Plus, you’ll be more likely to get the support and accountability that you need! And you might even show someone else that they aren’t alone in their struggles either.
Be Honest With Yourself
Okay, this one isn’t that easy either. Facing our own shit is one of the hardest things we can do. But it’s really the only way to achieve longterm success. If you aren’t aware of your own issues, habits, and hang-ups, you won’t be able to get past them. And this applies to every area of life.
For example, just a few short years ago, I had what I considered to be “terrible luck” in my dating life. The guys were always unreliable, nothing seemed to last. “Why me?!”, I would often ask. Things didn’t change until the day my acupuncturist asked me if I’d ever thought about why I tend to surround myself with people who don’t treat me well. It was like an actual light turned on in my brain. It was true! I was subconsciously seeking out these unfulfilling relationships because I was afraid to find something real. Literally days later, I reached out to the guy who is now my fiancé. But I couldn’t get out of my situation until I realized what I was actually doing.
So how does this apply to you and your finances? Well, it can sometimes feel like we just have bad luck financially. And that can be true! However, oftentimes our own beliefs and habits are the cause of our financial problems. Financial unrest is often a symptom of other emotional issues. I’m sure we’ve all gone on a shopping spree to cope with a breakup or other bad news. Spending money is a go-to way to deal with our emotions, good or bad. But this ends up hurting us in the long run if we aren’t careful. So get clear on the ways your baggage affects your money, because from there, you can start making changes.
Not sure where to start? Ask yourself a few questions:
What mood am I usually in when I overspend?
How do I usually feel after I overspend?
What kinds of situations lead me to want to spend money?
Look at Your Accounts
Just like I said above, you can’t change anything if you don’t face it first. And part of facing your financial issues is actually knowing what is happening with your money. So lay it all out on the table, literally. Pull up all of your accounts: bank accounts, credit cards, investments, student loans, medical bills, retirement accounts, etc. Print them out if you have to! I know it’s scary, but you’ll be better off for it.
This might feel arduous when you first start, especially if you haven’t looked at your entire financial portfolio in a while (or ever). But stick to it! You might find a 401k from an old job that you forgot about. Or (unfortunately) you might find some debt that you didn’t know you had. Again, you have to know what you need to fix in order to fix it. Once everything is out in the open, you can start making a plan to tackle things.
After you have located and organized all of your financial accounts, answer a few questions:
Can I close any accounts? (Old bank accounts, credit cards you don’t need)
Can I roll over or combine any accounts? (401k, etc.)
What takes top priority? (High interest debts, collections)
Where can I find support? (Friends, family, therapist, coach)
How can I be kind to myself while I work on this?
Review Your Spending Regularly
It’s very easy to spend money when you have no idea how much you’ve already spent. But that leads to overspending and financial stress. The longer you go without looking at your spending, the harder it is to face it. So make it a regular habit to review your spending. Schedule a daily or weekly money minute and check in. You might be surprised to see where your money is going and how quickly it adds up.
This exercise will help you to feel more in control of your money. You won’t be uncertain and stressed every time you open your bank statement, because you’ll have already been keeping track. You’ll also be able to make more informed choices when it comes to your money. If you don’t like where you’re losing money, you can start doing something differently. For example, if you’re getting charged bank fees that you weren’t aware of, you can find a new bank that has less (or no) fees. Not only will this save you money, but it also will show you that you do have power over your financial situation.
What are your goals, financial or otherwise, for 2018? How can I support you while you work towards them? Share in the comments!
Feeling overwhelmed about your money and not sure where to start? I can help you! Schedule a complimentary discovery call with me to learn more about my coaching services so I can help you get your money right!