Renewing Your Path to Financial Freedom
How are your new year's resolutions going? One of the main reasons most people do not succeed in their resolutions is because they either set unrealistic goals or they don’t prioritize them.
A better financial situation can only be achieved by setting realistic goals and having action steps along the path to reaching them.
Clients often talk about the vacation homes they want, the travel they would like to do, the loved ones they want to leave a legacy for, and other broad financial dreams. Each client is unique and some have a great deal of financial work to do, such as getting out of debt first.
Here are my tips for revisiting and renewing your financial goals on a regular basis so that you can achieve financial freedom:
Perspective. I advise individuals that to reach their goals, they have to have a realistic understanding of their current financial situation. Only then will we be able to craft specific strategies to help them reach their larger goals.
Accountability. The first step in establishing your financial goal is to make sure you have it in writing. Then you need accountability to help you achieve it. I revisit my clients’ financial goals at every meeting to ensure we are succeeding in the action steps to get them there.
For example, if a client's dream is to buy a vacation property in 10 years, we implement specific measurable strategies for every year leading up to that potential purchase date. If we succeed, we celebrate. If we don't, we renew and readjust, but we don't give up.
Progress check. It also is important to reward or recognize the hard work you’ve done along the way — a reminder that you’ve made progress toward your goal. It may seem out of reach at times, but if you have checkpoints, it’s easier to see exactly how far you have moved.
Focus on what you can control. If your financial goal is years away, a lot can happen. We cannot control the stock markets, global events, or what the media cover, but we can control how we react to them. Working toward a financial goal is like going on a road trip. We wouldn't abandon our vehicle at the first sign of traffic or bad weather. We make adjustments on the things we can control and keep moving toward our destination.
Finally, renew the excitement of your goals by discussing them frequently with your friends, family, and/or financial professional. Make sure you are on the same page. My wife and I talk about the lake house we will have and the property with a large amount of acreage as if we are purchasing it the next day. We discuss the steps we have taken and how much further we have to go before we can achieve it. If it is fresh on your mind, you are less likely to let it go by the wayside.
Kevin Chancellor is a licensed financial advisor. He specializes in helping individuals, families, and business owners in the areas of retirement planning, tax savings, estate considerations, and education savings. He has served as board chair for the Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce and works with various charities throughout the county.
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