The new year is upon us and so too are the New Year’s Resolutions most of us have set for 2020. While we are usually quite dedicated to these resolutions at the beginning of the year, they tend to fade out over time. The reality is that if you don’t apply strict discipline to achieving your resolutions, you will fail to achieve them.
When it comes to financial goals, don’t get caught up in what’s happened in the past. Choose to focus on making better financial decisions in the new year – and new decade – ahead. Here are some guidelines to help you achieve your financial goals for 2020.
1. Set goals
Know what you need to achieve and identify specific reasons why reaching those goals will benefit you, whether it’s an estimate of costs for your next December holiday or how much you will need to retire comfortably. In most cases, it is advisable to consult a financial expert in this regard.
2. Make a specific plan
This is where most resolutions fly out the window. The moment you realise that you will need to cut back on your usual Wednesday or Friday evening socials in order to save money, those resolutions quickly become something you’d rather set aside for 2021. The key to success lies in the fact that your plans should be realistic and your goals achievable.
For some it may be impossible to start off by saving R1 000 per month in order to reach the goals they set in step 2, so start with R500 instead, with the goal in mind to increase that amount every year. Investing R1 000 per month at a growth rate of 10% per year over a period of 20 years, will give you more or less the same total as investing R500 per month, with an annual investment escalation of 10%, at the same growth rate.
3. Gain some support
Don’t tackle your new year’s resolutions alone. Involve your family and friends and make sure that they are well aware of your resolutions. Of course, it’s more fun to dine out or to spend money on something new, but those extra savings can make a huge difference to your investment’s future value. By sticking to your resolutions, you may also inspire your friends and family to follow in your footsteps.
4. Monitor your progress
This doesn’t mean that you’re done with your savings strategy. Check your investment statements regularly in order to determine whether your investments are showing sufficient comparative growth, and more importantly, to keep track of your investment costs. A small saving in investment costs can lead to a huge boost in your investment performance over the long-term. Also ensure that you get into contact with your financial adviser at least once a year to discuss your investment strategy and any possible changes to your financial situation.
If you can commit to embracing each of these guidelines, you’ll set yourself up for a much greater chance of achieving your financial goals this year. Go ahead, your future self will thank you.