How often do you review and refresh your financial goals and strategies?
Planning your finances during the Fall before the busy holiday season reduces the risk of blowing over money due to increased spending. Going into the holidays with a financial plan also helps you achieve your overarching goals, which may include saving and investing for an early retirement or creating an emergency fund. In the long run, reviewing and refreshing your financial goals and strategies acts as roadmaps to achieve financial freedom.
This article highlights 9 tips for reviewing your financial goals and strategies to help improve your financial health.
1. Check your spending habits
For you to successfully set a sound financial plan, you should consider your spending habits. The most effective way to check your spending habits is by looking at your bank statements and credit card bills. You’ll realize that there may be some unnecessary money habits that are worth cutting back on. These may include eating out in restaurants or chronic online shopping.
Online subscription lists are also among spending habits that eat into your income without you even realizing it. You may have double subscribed to some of these lists or no longer engage with the content, yet you’re still being charged for subscribing. So take some time to check into these subscriptions and cancel anything that can help reduce your spending habits.
2. Monitor your debts
Debts can lead you into a perpetual debt trap. It is wise to monitor your debts and plan how to eliminate them. Paying off your debt improves your credit standing and increases your disposable income. You can then direct your disposal income to achieve your financial goals and strategies.
Remember that your debts are also affected by inflation. And, if there’s anything you’ve learned so far, it is that hyperinflation is an enemy worth keeping at bay. Otherwise, it’ll consume your disposable income leaving you to borrow more. So, make sure to clear off your debt as soon as possible to prevent the effect of inflation.
Some of the ways to clear off debt include the following;
- Debt consolidation loans – this method entails combining all your debts and paying them off with one loan. As a result, it may offer lower interest rates or low monthly installments. If you’re lucky, you get both- talk of doubling down on your debt. Debt consolidation loans include credit card balance transfers and home equity loans.
- Personal loans are also an alternative to clearing off debt. The beauty about them is that the interest rates are fixed regardless of inflation. This results in a fixed monthly payment thus, you’re flexible to review and adjust your financial goals and strategies.
3. Check your credit report
Lenders use credit reports to analyze your risk level when applying for funding. They do this by checking your credit utilization rate as highlighted in the credit report. An ideal credit utilization rate should be below 30% and anything below 10% is considered great. The lower it gets the better.
However, you may find it problematic to achieve such scores if there are errors in your credit report. Such mistakes may include the following;
- Your ex’s names are in the report
- Inconsistencies in the naming and spelling of your names, therefore, generating another person’s credit report
You can check for any mistake that may lower your credit utilization rate from the Annual Credit Report official site. You’re entitled to a free credit report annually from the three credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Be sure to check your report to avoid being part of the 26% of users who experience a mismatch in their credit reports.
Remember that a good credit report enables you to achieve your financial goals with ease.
4. Set S.M.A.R.T financial strategies and goals
The SMART framework outlines how you should set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. When you use this strategy in your financial planning, you’ll avoid goals that seem like moving targets hence, demoralizing you.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. financial goals and strategies helps you track your progress and maintain accountability throughout your financial planning process. You’ll also outline your short-term objectives that’ll build up to long-term targets. The above perks of S.M.A.R.T. financial goals and strategies will motivate you to refresh and pursue your financial ambitions.
Your SMART financial goals should be influenced by your life goals, making them achievable.
5. Reorganize your budget to beef up savings
Saving pools resources for investments. But for you to achieve your saving goals in this cash-stripped economy, you must reorganize your budget and cut on expenditures. Besides being drivers of investments, your savings might earn you some extra cash when you deposit them in an account that offers a good interest rate. The interest rate can be anywhere above 4.5% APY.
You need financial discipline to save a substantial amount for your financial goals and strategies. A general rule of thumb you can adopt is the 50-30-20 rule. This rule divides your income after tax into 3 categories with percentages as shown;
- 50% for your needs – Needs are things you can’t do without including your house rent, utilities, healthcare, groceries, and loan payments.
- 30% for your wants – Wants are basically things you can do without but you engage in them because they make life much more enjoyable. They include vacations, eating out in restaurants, and subscriptions.
- 20% for your savings – This category plays a significant role in helping you to achieve your financial goals and strategies. This is so because you can use the money to invest and stay debt free. A proper and consistent saving culture can also help you achieve financial freedom.
A pro tip to maintaining a good saving culture is reorganizing your budget by minimizing your wants to save more. If you’re finding it hard to save, automate your savings to a specific account from your checking account. Here, the money can be reinvested and earn interest, which is a win-win situation.
6. Increase your cash flow
Creating a passive income is a rich man’s game. It allows you to concentrate on other projects while you still make money and build wealth on the side. A consistent passive income increases your cash flow enabling you to review and refresh your financial goals and strategies.
You can create a passive income and increase your cash flow through the following ways;
- Investing – There are various options for investing your cash to increase your cash flow. They include real estate, precious metals, stocks, and cryptocurrencies. All you need to do is to find a balance between your risk appetite and each option of investment.
- Create a side hustle – What are you passionate about and have the skill to teach or service others? Convert that knowledge and passion into a personal business. This will earn you extra money even when you’re not working.
7. Keep your emotions and lifestyle in check
It’s no secret that you’d be tempted to change your lifestyle once you increase your cash flow. This may be due to your emotions advocating for a certain social standing, which isn’t necessary. If the previous paycheck maintained your lifestyle, then keep your emotions in check and avoid lifestyle creep when your cash flow increases.
Instead of blowing your extra cash flow in lifestyle changes, why don’t you review your financial goals and save more towards achieving them?
Also, emotions are bound to get in the way of your long-term financial goals. So, keep in mind that these financial goals are for your prosperity and box those emotions from your mind.
8. Plan ahead
Many people fall off the bandwagon of achieving financial freedom the moment they start spending without a predetermined plan. Christmas and holidays are particularly notorious with people deviating from their financial plan. The festivities make you spendthrift, and you only realize you have overspent when the holidays are over.
Therefore, you should always plan (in the fall) for the holidays to avoid overspending. Planning also allows you to review your financial goals depending on your income.
9. Get professional help
Whenever you face a roadblock in your financial goals and strategies, your best bet for overcoming such an obstacle is to seek professional help.
Professional financial coaches at Foundation are always ready to guide you on sound financial planning to achieve your goals and strategies.
You’ll be able to gain valuable insights on how to plan for your long-term financial goals, pay off your debts, increase your savings, reduce your spending, and manage your current finances.
In the long run, you’ll be able to review and refresh your financial goals and strategies with the help of a professional beside you.
As you prepare for the holidays, one thing is certain- your financial goals and strategies will be put to the test. So have a plan and stick to it. If you backtrack on your financial freedom journey, you will stay where you are or even end up in a worse position.
At Foundation 99, we can help you achieve your financial goals and strategies. Our experienced financial coaches will guide you on consolidating your debt, increasing your cash flow, growing your savings, improving your budget, and coming up with S.M.A.R.T financial goals and strategies.