What better time to resolve to lead a financially stress-free life that the start of a new year?
The first step is to make a list of all your financial goals and priorities. Managing your day-to-day living expenses should be your priority.
Next is to set financial or monetary goals which are what we wish to attain in the future, for example being debt-free or buying a home or meeting retirement needs.
We can do this the S.M.A.R.T. way:
- Be Specific and clear about what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
Tip: Work out how much you need for each goal, and think how you can reach that goal. When projecting future value, remember to take into consideration current prices and projected inflation.
- Make sure the goals are Measurable so that you can monitor your progress and take action if you find yourself falling behind.
Tip: To assist you in your calculations, you may want to make use of this online debt calculator: http://www.moneysense.gov.sg/Financial-Planning/Financial-Calculators/Debt-Calculator.aspx
- Goals must be Attainable and Realistic, even if they require some discipline to stick to the plan.
Tip: Devise a plan or a way of achieving your goal which makes it realistic. This goal needs to be realistic and achievable for you, based on your current economic situation.
- Set a Time frame, e g. by next week, within a year, or in 10 years’ time.
Tip: Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
Remember to start planning as soon as possible. Most people procrastinate because the numbers look tedious, but do not be discouraged as one has to start somewhere.
Discipline and focus are also vital. Focus on the goal you want to achieve and if it is important to you, you will be more committed to save and think through how an action or inaction can affected the goal.
Lastly, spend within your means. It may not rain everyday but you want to be prepared when the rain comes.
We wish one and all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous year ahead!
This article was contributed by Ms Felicia Yeo, Content Development Manager from Institute for Financial Literacy (IFL).