As you resolve to be physically fit, give your finances a workout too—and avoid over-consuming in the New Year. “Spend less, save more” is among the Top 10 list of resolutions, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Similar to health and wellness, to succeed with your financial resolution, you must make it part of a healthy lifestyle.
Set SMART Goals
When you see success happening, your odds increase for continuing it. Increase your chances for success by setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and trackable (SMART) goals:
Specific. State exactly what you want to accomplish, how you’re going to do it and when you want to achieve it. Keep in mind the “W’s”: who, what, where, when & why.
Measurable. Establish criteria for measuring your progress. Answer questions such as, “How much?” and “How many?”
Attainable. Ensure the goal is within reasonable reach.
Realistic. It is best to set a high, but realistic goal. Don’t ignore your limitations.
Trackable. Give yourself a time frame to track your progress. This encourages you to keep going and reach your goal.
Make a Master Plan
Having a master financial strategy in place can also help curb spending and encourage saving. By thinking ahead, you’ll be one step closer to your goals. Some key areas to consider:
Tax planning. Maximize deductions and plan your tax strategy.
Treat charitable contributions like any savings element, because they do save you on taxes, both income and estate. Set up a schedule and consider including charitable contributions in your estate plan.
College planning. For gifts, tax breaks and other benefits, choose the vehicle that is right for you.
Retirement planning. Make sure your investment, spending and saving strategies work together toward your goal.
Wealth transfer. Whether you’re giving to family or favorite organizations, preserve assets to take the pressure off your heirs, understand the tax implications and allocate your resources accordingly.
Expand Your Toolbox
A few simple tools can help you stick to your resolution:
Automatic deposit. Split your direct deposit or link your checking and savings accounts and set up auto transfers.
Outline a budget. Whether you do it on paper or use an online system, like Money Management at Busey, budget to keep on track with spending patterns.
Financial calculators. Take advantage of financial calculators to help determine what you can afford. From personal and home financing to investing and retirement, visit busey.com to calculate your financial future.
Busey is dedicated to providing the support and resources to help you achieve your financial goals. Whether you want to keep better track of your expenses or start saving for retirement, make lifestyle changes that last.