Simple strategies to kick-start your financial goals
“You need to be content with small steps. That’s all life is, small steps that you take every day.” – Katie Kacvinsky
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a number of my goals and, in particular, I’ve been trying to figure out why I find some goals so much easier to work on than others. If you’ve read my posts before, you may have picked up on the fact that I’m quite passionate about the power of setting goals.
Related article: Setting SMART Goals
Over the 15 years that I’ve been in Canada, the process of goal-setting has allowed me to achieve a number of things I would never have had the patience or endurance to see through to fruition. However, even though I’ve accomplished a lot, there are some things that have been on my goal-setting “radar” for a while but I’ve never managed to attack them quite hard enough to get them knocked off my list. Recently, a friend called me out on some of them, suggesting that perhaps I was more committed to the idea of the goal than to the goal itself.
His comments got me thinking about why wanting to achieve something isn’t always enough to ensure you actually start taking steps to achieve it. I know that it’s easier to pour energy into goals that excite us and that sometimes, having a goal that we know is going to take more effort makes us subconsciously find ways to delay starting work on it. The truth is though, that as much as we’d like it to, achieving a goal doesn’t happen in one leap. It happens in a series of small, deliberate steps. So, if you’ve had some financial goals on your list for a while and you don’t seem to be taking action on them, here are some suggestions of resources and strategies that might help you kick-start your financial goals:
Books & magazines
Sometimes, arming yourself with information can be a good catalyst for change. I’m a big fan of no-nonsense books that focus on providing great information and sharing effective strategies that are proven to work. The books (and magazine) below are resources that have really helped me in my financial journey. They’ve also helped a number of other people that I know.
- The Richest Man in Babylon – George Clason
- The Wealthy Barber Returns – David Chilton (“The Wealthy Barber” is also excellent if you can find it!)
- The Automatic Millionaire – David Bach
- Money Rules – Gail Vaz Oxlade
- Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – T. Harv Eker
- Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
- MoneySense magazine
The internet is a great resource and a great place to find information about finance – the fact that you’re reading this online is a testament to that! Aside from RetireHappy.ca, there are some other great websites out there that you might want to check out:
Sometimes, we talk ourselves out of taking the first step because it seems like there are too many steps between where we are and where we want to go. Sometimes we get started and then we get distracted or busy and we lose momentum and get off track. Here are some simple strategies that might help give your financial health a boost:
- Set up an automated savings plan or increase your current savings rate by 1-2%
- Start a “fun fund” – set a savings goal and make a plan
“Create” extra $$
- Identify your “latte factor” and make a plan to re-purpose some of the money that’s drifting
- Cancel a subscription you no longer use
- Spend more consciously (and less impulsively!)
Give yourself a financial check-up
- Review your investments to make sure they still match your goals/risk tolerance/time-frame
- Review the fees you’re paying for banking/investments/late-fees etc.
- Create a net-worth statement
At the end of the day, when it comes to starting (or re-starting) your path to a goal, what really matters is that you find enough motivation to take the first step and then maintain that motivation for the length of the journey. It’s not always easy but, if you know that the goal is important and that achieving it will impact your life in a positive way, then you owe it to your future self to give it a shot. There are lots of great resources, information and strategies available to help you along the way – all you need to do is find the ones that spark your enthusiasm to do what it takes to start moving.