The new year is the perfect break in the calendar that allows us to take off the old and put on the new. It’s like turning the page, and while you can’t change the past, you can change the future.
One way we can make a change is to set new goals: New Year’s resolutions. If you are considering financial resolutions, you might include simplifying your financial universe, figuring out how to optimize your retirement spending or finally getting an estate plan in place that matches your values.
New Year’s resolutions are often made but few follow through on them. According to a recent CBS News poll (cbsn.ws/3n8Fjn1), only 29 percent of Americans had planned to make New Year’s resolutions this year, down from 43 percent in 2021. Moreover, Statista reports that only 4 percent who make resolutions accomplish all they set out to do; 8 percent meet most of their goals, and 16 percent meet some (bit.ly/3fawJjd).
It’s not encouraging.
We get a sense of satisfaction when we “check that box.” So how can we increase our chances of success? Follow-through is critical, and these tips will help you not only set but attain your goals in 2022.
Set Resolutions and Achieve Them
1. Pick Important Goals: Set goals that are meaningful, specific and within reach. Many set worthy goals, but they are too lofty or too difficult to accomplish. Traveling the world may be exciting, but it requires massive planning. And honestly, it’s vague. What about identifying two countries that you have never visited and planning to complete trips to both by June 30, 2022? Be specific and get granular.
2. Don’t Choose Too Many: Choose too many and you’ll likely end up accomplishing little. Instead, pick one or two. Elizabeth Saunders writes in the Harvard Business Review, “Because there aren’t usually instant negative effects, you’ll tend to look at these goals as ‘extras.’ And since most of us don’t have much time or energy for a lot of extras, you’ll increase your likelihood of success by picking just one or two resolutions.” (bit.ly/3Fg4t9w) We agreed and our values-clarification process may help you identify the best candidate resolutions.
3. Write Down Your Goals: According to Inc. Magazine, “Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University in California led a study on goal-setting with nearly 270 participants. The results? You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.” (bit.ly/3Ghh3qa) Writing down your resolutions has a twofold effect: it forces clarity, and it is motivating.
4. Make a Plan: You get this sinking feeling every time you are reminded that your estate plan (wills, etc.) was either done years ago or not at all, but the idea of figuring all this out is overwhelming. In truth, there are really only a few straightforward decisions to make and you can break this goal down into two manageable steps. First, meet with a professional to get a rundown on the major decisions, and then set a deadline for making these decisions so that the documents can be drafted. We have great examples for you to consider also.
5. Keep Score: Writing down your small successes allows you to see your progress.
6. Use Accountability: It helps to have an accountability partner—preferably someone you admire. Also, put a very simple listing of your goals in a few conspicuous places that you will see every day so that they will never be far from your mind.
7. Reward Yourself: There will be an inherent sense of satisfaction when you have achieved your New Year’s resolution, but why not give yourself a prize, a reward when you have checked that box? It’s an accomplishment, and you deserve to celebrate it!
You may not accomplish your resolutions right away, but with planning and persistence, you’ll see success.
How will the pandemic play out? We’ve seen Delta and we’re now seeing a surge in cases tied to Omicron. The economic impact of Delta was limited, and thus far, investors have side-stepped economic worries about Omicron. But what does 2022 hold?
We may see a pullback in 2022, and we recognize that downturns are a part of investing. We craft portfolios based on your goals, values, circumstances and risk tolerance that help manage risk, but we can’t eliminate risk.
Trading the fear of a sell-off for a savings account means you won’t participate in the long-term upside that stocks have historically offered. Conversely, take on too much risk when the market has been strong, and you may experience sleepless nights in a swift downturn and sell at the worst possible moment.
If life events have forced you to rethink your goals, let’s talk. Financial plans are not set in stone. Yet, adherence to one’s financial plan and a long-term focus have historically been the straightest path to reaching one’s financial goals. We may see volatility this year. But predictions are simply educated guesses. Sell-offs have always historically been followed by rebounds. Keep this in mind as we navigate the New Year together.
Can We Help You? One common wish we hear from people is their desire to finally get financially organized and optimize their family finances to support living their best lives. Everyone wants to feel financially prepared for life’s transitions, both the planned ones (home-ownership, starting a family, college funding, weddings, vacation homes and a dream retirement) as well as the unplanned transitions. Many people have good ideas about what they need to do but could use some expert help to confidently move forward and fully commit to executing their plans consistently.
We offer an introductory two-meeting financial planning process at no charge to allow you to get to know us better and start to get organized and put together a plan of action. Go to go.oncehub.com/StewardshipColorado and schedule a virtual or face-to-face meeting to get started on your journey, or give us a call in the office at 303.500.1931.
This article is meant to provide general information and it is not to be construed as specific investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential for loss.