James M. Richardson
James M. Richardson CFP®, ChFC®, APMA® is a Private Wealth Advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner with Richardson Private Wealth Advisors, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Raleigh, N.C. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 29 years.
The start of a new year gives many people motivation to take a fresh look at their finances and focus on their goals for the future – but, as the year progresses, this enthusiasm can fall to the wayside. If you’re someone who falls into this trap, there are steps you can take to stay motivated and set attainable goes for 2021 and beyond.
Be specific and realistic. Setting aspirational goals, such as living the life you want in retirement or taking a coast-to-coast road trip, is exciting and can be a great place to start. Yet, broad goals can quickly become overwhelming, so tangible ones can help you keep the commitment. The best way to make your dreams a reality is to break each goal into small, specific tasks that are realistic to accomplish this year.
Prioritize. You’re not alone if you have a myriad of financial goals. However, it can be hard to achieve them all without focus or unlimited resources. Pick one or two goals, tailoring your savings, time and resources accordingly. If you have competing priorities such as saving for your child’s education and retirement, create a plan that will help you make measurable progress toward both. Remember, incremental changes and savings made over time can make a big difference in the long run.
Set deadlines. Without target dates in mind, goals tend to drift. As you set deadlines for each task, consider adding a reminder on your calendar to keep the goal a priority throughout the year. If you fall short of what you want to accomplish, don’t give up. Adjust your dates and get back on track.
Enlist family support. If you’re married or in a committed relationship, involve your spouse or partner in financial goal setting. If your goal is a family affair, consider including your children in the process. Your children can benefit from watching you make smart financial choices. With everyone on the same page, you can support one another and overcome obstacles together.
Work with a professional. Share your goals with your financial advisor, tax professional or estate planner, as appropriate. These specialists may be able to suggest additional strategies to help you reach your goals, while being mindful of your other financial priorities.