Make your money goals a reality

Australians love making New Year resolutions. The only problem is that we're not very good at sticking with them. 

Comparison site Finder found three out of five of us will fail to fulfil our New Year’s resolutions.

With around 12 per cent of resolutions likely to involve money matters, it’s worth embracing a few simple steps to help turn your 2016 financial goals into reality.

Our tendency to tackle too many goals at one time is a key reason why resolutions fail. So this year, try setting just one target for yourself and make it achievable.

We’d all like to be billionaires by December but realistically it’s not going happen for most of us. However we can all achieve small but worthwhile targets - like paying an extra $50 off the credit card each month, or investing $50 every week into super or a managed fund. Stick with these modest goals and over time they can make a significant difference to your financial health.

Make a note to monitor your progress too. One in four of us break our New Year’s resolutions because we don’t track how our goal is progressing.

This is an area where technology can help. The government’s free TrackMyGOALS app for instance, is designed to let you to set, plan, track and manage savings goals. 

Importantly, put some thought into how you will reach your goal. Setting up a regular automatic transfer from your everyday account to a dedicated savings account for example is an effortless way to grow savings.
 
Don’t sweat it if your New Year’s resolution is already a distant memory. Remember, you can set personal financial goals at any time of the year. Or, if you’re unsure where to get started, take a look at the Money health check calculator on the MoneySmart site.

The calculator looks at your income, expenses, savings and investments and how well you are protected through insurance, to generate a personalised ‘money health’ report card.

Not only is the online Money health check free, it also offers handy suggestions on what you could do to boost your fiscal wellbeing. These could form the basis of your 2016 goals. What’s more, you should be able to take the Money health check in under ten minutes, which I reckon is time well invested.

Here’s to a prosperous 2016!

 

Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.

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