Last week, I received devastating news that a good friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. He was only 40 years old, and he left behind a wife and two beautiful daughters. I have spent the past week reflecting on our friendship, as I had known him since I was 14 years old, and I decided that I would dedicate this week’s blogs to my wonderful friend, Rob and the lessons that can and should be learned from an unexpected death.
Rob was a HUGE Elvis fan. At his funeral there was even a large bouquet of flowers that spelled out the word ELVIS. And I have to admit that I am not a big Elvis fan, so it took me a while to find inspiration from his music to write this blog, but I am actually really excited about today’s message. I often tell people that the path to financial fitness is similar to the path to physical fitness. They both take commitment, hard work, a plan, time and energy. Above all else, though, they require mindfulness. If you are not constantly thinking about getting physically fit or financially fit, you will get distracted from your goals. So, let this song act as a reminder to you to keep your financial goals, always on your mind.
Four steps to keep your financial goals always on your mind
1) Set your goals – I frequently meet with clients who know they need financial help; however, they have never set financial goals. Not having financial goals is like driving around in your car without a destination. Yeah, it may be fun for a while, but over time you will realize that you wasted time, energy and gas and now you are lost. I recently wrote about successful goal writing, so make sure when you set your goals they are specific, achievable and measurable. They don’t have to be crazy or complex. They can be as simple as “Save $100 every month” or “Improve my credit score by 20 points in three months.”
2) Pick your accountability buddy – One of the main reasons why my clients pay money to work with me is for the accountability that I provide for them. I give them “tough love” and keep them on task. Sure there are many people who are self-motivated enough to achieve their own goals without an accountability buddy, but for those who need help, you should ask for it. My buddy is my husband, but it could be a friend, a co-worker or a relative. An accountability buddy is another person who will help you keep your finances on your mind. Whoever you feel will judge you the least and support you the most is the best accountability buddy.
3) Set your calendar – Just as it is important to set goals, it’s important to check in on them and make sure you are on track. The best way to do this is setting calendar reminders to review your financials. What better way to keep your finances on your mind, then a pop-up reminder? I do this with my clients monthly; however, if you are just starting out on the path to financial fitness, weekly check-ins are more effective until you feel you are heading in the right direction, then you can switch to monthly.
4) Remember to evolve – Just as the earth has been evolving for 4.5 billion years (give or take a few – my husband is a physics teacher) our financial goals evolve over time. If you get a raise, then you should increase your savings goals. If you decide to have children, you need to adjust your spending goals. During your calendar scheduled check-in times you should also note your evolution and determine if any changes should be made.
Do you have any other tips for keeping your finances on your mind? What works best for you?