If you know me, you know I’m not a “goal guy.” I’m not someone who typically posts my “word of the year”, goals or resolutions on social media for the world to see, but rather strive for a more private, teamwork approach with my wife. We start each year by going on a kid’s free date to a coffee shop to simply talk about what we want to accomplish in the coming year. These annual dates provide my wife and me with clarity and ensure we operate as a team to help each other achieve our personal and family goals.
I’m passionate about our financial planning process at Wymer Brownlee because we put a lot of emphasis on the word plan. At the end of the day, your goals, without an action plan, are more so wishes.
Here are four ways to help your intention turn into action when you’re planning your 2023 year:
Write your goals down. Setting personal, professional, financial, or health-related goals starts with writing them down and putting pen to paper. My wife and I opt for a whiteboard, split them up into segments, and keep it in our closet so we see it often and it stays top of mind. When I create a financial plan for a client, we start by discussing your entire financial picture. We work to create a plan that you can visualize because if you can’t see what you want to accomplish written down, then it’s either living in your head or your advisor’s head.
Break the big goals into segments. After you and your spouse have clearly defined what you want to accomplish by jotting down your goals, you need to turn that intention into action by breaking up the goals into bite-size pieces. For example, my wife and I bought a new house a few years ago. We loved our last house but were growing out of it and needed something bigger to accommodate our daughters. We didn’t buy a new home impulsively – we conducted diligent research, hired our realtor, and began looking at where we wanted to plant our roots next. If you want to save more money each month toward a new car or family vacation, you need to start small by breaking down everything you will need to do to accomplish that goal. If it’s a long-term goal that might take several years to reach, that’s where I come in – to help you stay on track and remind you to celebrate the small wins along the way.
Check yourself: No matter if it’s a calendar system of checking off days that you’ve run a mile or an app that tracks your progress to paying off debt, it’s essential to monitor your progress and lean on your spouse for accountability. My wife and I are ten times more motivated to accomplish our yearly goals and what we want to do if we check in with each other monthly or quarterly. The plus is you now have scheduled dates with your spouse!
At the beginning of my relationship with my clients, I determine how frequently it makes sense for us to meet. I typically say that two meetings per year are standard, and sometimes we opt for quarterly if it makes sense with their unique situation. The point here is that regular communication, check-ins and tracking progress to meet financial goals is the same process my wife and I apply to our family goals to ensure we stay the course.
Keep a big-picture mindset. My wife and I often say to each other, “Let’s take a step back, and think about the big picture here.” Because we often get caught up in the finer details of our goals or the business of life, it’s important to check ourselves and remind each other that we’re working toward something more significant. One way of keeping this mindset intact is to ask questions. Sometimes impulse decisions can deter you from goals you’ve set, so if it’s a large purchase or something that comes up, like an opportunity to invest in your friend’s company that you didn’t plan for – ask yourself what the implications of this decision are. Is this going to steer us off the course of meeting our other goals?
With goals of great importance, it’s easy for motivation to wane, and it’s not common for complacency to set in as February or March begins. With several months of winter ahead of us, there is plenty of time to start your yearly planning. If you’re looking to focus on your financial goals for 2023 and looking for a partner to guide you, I’m just a phone call away.
Category: Financial Service Team