5 Steps To Get Your Financial Goals In Gear
by Cindy Theien, VP – Retail Banking Director
We’re a month into the 2022 which, if you’re like most people, means you’re already struggling with your New Year’s resolutions. Thankfully, NBC is here to help you stay on track. While we can’t ensure you work out more, spend less time on your phone, or eat more vegetables, we can help you with another common goal: getting your financial goals on track.
Our financial health is tied directly to our biggest dreams, our boldest ideas, and our grandest hopes for the future. And the work you put in now to put things on the right track will pay real dividends in the future. But how to get started?
We recommend the following five steps:
Write It Down
This first step is also the hardest. It requires you to take a realistic look at where you are financially — and be honest with yourself about it.
Start with your monthly income and subtract your essential expenses. The amount of income left from this easy budget exercise is your discretionary income — what you can spend or save however you wish. Do you have extra money left? Great! Use that to save towards your goals.
Not much — or any —money left at the end of this exercise? Then it’s time to review your budget and see if there are items you can live without or cut back on. How much can you save by making coffee or lunch at home? Do you ever even use that streaming app? Freeing up some discretionary income will require some sacrifices, but the long-term benefits will be worth it.
Identify Your Priorities
What are your biggest goals? Do you want to buy a home? Are you looking to pay off your debt? Do you need to plan for retirement, save for your kids’ college? All of the above? Identify your priorities, write them down and then place them in order of priority. Once you’ve ranked your priorities, get to work on number one. How?
Create A Plan
Once you’ve identified your top priority, flip to a new blank page and begin brainstorming ways to attain or achieve it. Spend some time researching typical timelines and true costs for attaining that goal. Check back in with your budget and determine what you’ll need in discretionary income each month to make it happen. If you discover you need to increase your income to do it, seek out ways to do so — whether that means asking for a raise, finding part-time work or monetizing a special skill or hobby.
Adjust As Needed
Check in each payday. Are you making progress, or did you set your discretionary goals too high? Have your priorities changed? Is your top goal still your top goal? As time passes, it’s common for you, your priorities, or your situation to change and your goals and budget need to be adjusted accordingly.
Keep The Faith
Finally, don’t be discouraged if your plan changes – that’s life! You are still steps ahead of others who don’t have a plan at all.