By Daniel A. Scheerer
For those for whom New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting is an annual process, congratulations, that’s a positive thing. However, the best time to make those activities happen is right now, as fall begins to take shape.
Planning, whether financial or otherwise, takes time, thought, and organization and never just “happens”. Unfortunately that is the way so many people approach it when it coincides with motivation around New Year’s. If you make financial plans starting at the beginning of the year - too late, it’s already begun! What might the process look like now, particularly if you have never really been methodical about it? Let’s take a look.
First, depending on your age and family situation, you may have different levels of financial complication. Regardless, start with the same question: how frequently do I need to be sitting down with my finances to compile and assess? This is a process beyond the daily/weekly bookkeeping necessary to stay on top of things. This is a chance to compare actuals to budget and determine whether you are meeting your goals. It should at least be a monthly process, keeping in mind that the longer the span between sessions, the farther off your goals you are likely to become. Will it be every month, or every two weeks? Once you decide, put it in your calendar for the year and figure out how to stick to it. It must become habit to be successful!
Second, start with the end in mind, and make a plan. This is the part that takes time. How do you want to be living in retirement? How much will you need to do so? What will you need to put away every year to get there? How can you increase your income and cut your expenses?
These are tough questions, but with time and focus, they CAN be answered. Get help, there are professionals that do this for a living. Use this fall to prepare so on January 1, you have a plan. You’ll sleep much better!
Daniel A. Scheerer
Dan Scheerer is the founder of SmartGeorge, a premier provider of financial management skills training tailored for young people. SmartGeorge is located in Kingston, MA.
To learn how we can be of help to you, please call SmartGeorge at 866-436-6005 or visit www.SmartGeorge.com.
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