The New Year is typically a time when gyms and fitness studios get very crowded as people set wellness resolutions for themselves. This often includes changes in nutrition and exercise, adding meditation or positive intentions to their resolutions, and overall behavioral changes. But what’s often neglected in that wellness goal is financial wellness. Let’s take a look at your financial fitness in 2020.
Here are some steps you can take to improve your financial wellness this year.
Establish Your “Before”
With the rise of social media you see a lot of wellness challenges that include people documenting their before photos, to have something to compare to at the end of their journey. Take the time to establish your “financial before”. Pulling together all of your year-end financial statements will help you understand your starting point and give you a better understanding of where your financial wellness journey will take you. It is often helpful to consult with a financial advisor at this point who can help you get better organized and develop a plan for your future.
Set A Goal For Your “After”
When thinking about fitness goals people usually set specific goals. Whether that be weight loss, lean muscle gain, personal weight lifting records, or completing a marathon, setting goals helps us to stay focused and on track.
With your “before picture” already outlined, it’s time for you to determine what you want your ideal “after” to be. For instance, if your goal is to pay off your credit card debt this year, you can set monthly goals to help you reach that year end overall goal. The more specific your goals, the easier it will be to meet them. If you have $3,000 of credit card debt, set a goal of paying off $250 a month.
Create Your Roadmap To “After”
Now that you have your goal established, you need to create the roadmap to achieve it. Outline the individual activities required to help you get to your larger goal. Going back to the example of paying off your credit card, consider the smaller steps of setting a monthly budget, that includes the monthly payments you plan to allocate towards your credit card balance. There are several online tools and mobile apps such as Mint, YNAB, EveryDollar, Pocketguard, etc. that can help you set up a budget, or you can work with a financial advisor to build a plan that will help you work towards the lifestyle you deserve both now and throughout the rest of your life.
Track, Track, Track!!
Just like people track weight loss, strength gains, caloric intake, etc., it’s important to keep track of the progress towards your goal to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Most wellness programs need adjustments throughout the year, and financial wellness is no different. Continue to monitor your budget and your monthly goals so you don’t get off course. If you find that your monthly goals aren’t working the way you’d hoped, don’t be afraid to make changes or ask for help from a professional. You’ve made the important steps of getting organizing and setting goals, don’t get sidelined if things aren’t going perfectly.
Find An Accountability Partner
Finances can be highly personal and you may not want to share the details of your goals with someone else, but if you have someone who you trust and can talk to about your goals, it often helps you stay on track. That could be a family member, a financial advisor, or a trusted friend. By sharing your goals with someone else and asking them to check on in on you and your goals throughout the year, you may find you are more likely to stay the course.
By Amanda Cooley, Chief Marketing Officer, Barnum Financial Group
Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. 6 Corporate Drive, Shelton, CT 06484, Tel: 203-513-6000.