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21 Days To Rock Your Finances: Day 1- Create A 1 Year Financial Plan

It’s a new year and we all have resolutions!  If you’re reading this blog, the it’s safe to guess that you have a few financial resolutions that you’d like to tackle this year.  Well, how about we take a look at tackling them in 21 days?  In this series, we’ll be giving you tips on how to rock your finances in 21 days. These include saving more, spending less and reducing debt just to name a few of the topics we’ll be covering.

The first 2 posts will address laying the groundwork for the rest of the tasks in this series.  Think of is as a warm up before bootcamp!

Today we start with creating a 1 year financial plan.  Creating a financial plan isn’t as hard as it sounds, though it may be difficult to see where you’ll be 1 year from now.  However, that’s exactly why we included this exercise.  Part of rocking your finances is being able to lay out and visualize where you’ll be in 1 year, 5 years and eventually 10 years.  Without the vision to direct your path, there’s no point in getting on the path to financial freedom.  Every path leading anywhere does just that, leads you somewhere.  Thus, this highlights the need for a financial plan.

Let’s get started.

What Are Your Goals?

Get Out Of Debt?

Save More?

Spend Less?

Get a notebook and list them.  Also, you can scroll down for a template which helps you do exactly what we ask here.

Create SMART Goals for Every Financial Goal

Now that we know about your goals, how will you get there?  For every financial goal you have, you’ll need to apply SMART goals.  Smart goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive

MoneyManagement.org writes:

S – Specific – What is the exact result you want to achieve? Be as specific as possible. Goals like “I want to make more money” sound nice but are really vague. By answering specifically how much money you want to make, you can be more detailed when setting your goal. For example, you could say, “I want to make $10,000 in the next 6 months.” That is a very specific, detailed goal.

 

• M – Measurable – What is a successful result? How will you know that you’ve reached your goal? When setting financial goals, measuring it should be relatively simple because there is generally a number associated with the goal. When there is some kind of number attached to it, you have something you can measure. You can track how you’re doing.

 

• A – Achievable – I’m all for dreaming big, but you have to ask yourself if your goal is realistic. “I want to be the first Jr. High student to play in the NBA” – sounds good; it’s even measurable and specific, but I don’t know how achievable it is. You have to balance between pushing yourself to accomplish a challenging goal but also making it realistic.

 

• R – Realistic-We edited this to reflect realistic instead of rewarding.  By default all goals are rewarding but for our purposes, it is more important to be realistic.  A realistic goal is one that will stretch you but not impossible. Completely cutting out all entertainment and eating out isn’t realistic for most.  But starting my reducing the amount of money spent in this area is more realistic.

 

• T – Trackable – What is your cut-off date for achieving this goal? There should be a set finish line, so you are pushing yourself to achieve your goal. Without a timeline for accomplishing the goal, it is very easy to get off track, and you just get to it when you get to it. A goal without a deadline is just a wish.

 

Next, we’ll write it down and make the vision plain!

 

Check out this template from David Bach which should give you more of a visual of what the plan should look like:

http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/david-bach-financial-plan-template.jpg

 

Take some time to create this plan before you move forward to the next step.  The next article in this series will cover:   tracking ever dollar that comes into your possession.  You’ll be surprised where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to!

 

  • http://twitter.com/DivaCFO DivaCFO

    Great post! Love the “SMART” acronym! 

  • Andrea P

    After a while… smart goals become ingrained (for me anyway) I think I may be addicted to goalsetting and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

  • http://www.moneytrail.net Pam at MoneyTrail

    Really like the SMART system.  Now I just need to sit down & do it!

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