I love January. Great weather, cricket on the tv pretty much every day, and most people are allowing themselves to ease into the year.
Another thing I love about January is the positivity in the air. New year’s resolutions are always in full swing – gyms, cycleways, walkways, and parks are teeming with people all getting their dose of exercise and trying to shed a few unwanted Christmas kilos.
As Financial Planner, I know the new year is also a time many people think about their money and what they can do to get more in the year ahead. It might be sorting out your cashflow, setting up an investment plan, buying property, clearing debts, or saving for your next big holiday. Whatever your plans are, how you set up your strategy will impact on how well it actually works.
The thing is, when it comes to getting your money sorted it’s not as simple as just buying a bike and pedalling off the pounds. You need to know where to get started, the best way to get what you want, and how you can do this all without taking a massive hit to your lifestyle!
This can be complicated and sometimes confusing, so I’ve put together a bit of a cheat sheet based on the most common issues I come across when working with my clients.
Follow the steps below, and you’ll be on your way to setting up a strategy to give you the lifetsyle you want today knowing the money side of your situation is taken care of. If you get any one of these steps wrong, your plan won’t be nearly as effective, so take note!
Set your targets
This is the fun part. You get to think about all the things you’d love to do or have wanted to do for ages and have been putting off. Get creative. Get adventurous. Build a bucket list. Put it all down on paper so you can see what your ideal lifestyle looks like.
Understand what’s possible
This is where you make sure what you want to do is achievable and set timelines. If you’re close to a couple of your goals, understanding when you’re going to hit targets can help motivate and in some cases push you to get there even faster. You need to crunch the numbers (or have someone do it for you) so you can be sure you’re planning right and not missing anything important. If you don’t, you can end up spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere.
Think about which of your goals are competing and which are the most important to you. I think most people would like to retire immediately and travel the world… but it’s not always possible right now! You should think about which goals are the most important to you and which can wait. This process means you’re going to get the things at the top of your list that are the most important, and then work towards getting them.
This is where you figure out the best way to get what you want as quickly and easily as possible. You need to do some research or get good advice so you’re across all the important options and avoid making decisions that will cost you down the track. Get this right and you’ll also know with full confidence that you’re not missing out on any opportunities to get what you want easier or faster.
Here you want to make your life as easy as possible. You need to set yourself up in a way that minimises your time input and makes it really easy to see how you’re tracking to your plan (and quickly notice if you’re heading off track).
If you follow the steps above you’ll be well on your way to hitting your most important lifestyle and financial targets. BUT, if you don’t review your progress it’s easy to get off track and have your plan fall in a heap. To increase your chances of success, define how you’ll measure success and then buddy up with someone to keep you on track. This can be your Adviser, or a partner or friend. The important thing is they understand what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going about it.
Follow these steps and you’ll get that plan showing you how you can live the lifestyle you want, and give you complete confidence in your money strategy and the direction you’re heading!