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With every new year comes a new opportunity to resolve to make a better life for yourself. Financial planning is a very popular choice for new year’s resolutions along with losing weight and doing better in school.
If you are looking to save more and spend less this year, you are going to need to stick to a resolution and put your money where your mouth is. The key to success is to choose a goal that is measurable, has an expiration date, and is very precise. Additionally, in some cases hiring professional help like that of a futures broker will make your goal that much more doable. As you can imagine, without the help of a professional investing intelligently would be considerably more difficult and prone to failure.
In her Wall Street Journal article How to Keep Your Money Resolutions, Carolyn T. Geer gives essential financial advice.
“Saving more is abstract,” Geer writes. “Saving for a trip to Rome isn’t.”
Choosing to stick to a very limited and strict budget is often the worst resolution to choose.
“Because of their emphasis on self-denial (no more lattes!), we are not motivated to follow through with them, so we are constantly failing,” Geer explains.
With Geer’s advice in mind, here are my three steps to help create an achievable resolution.
Step one: Choose a concept or an idea. Everyone has something that they want to change. Examples are creating an emergency fund, saving more money, buying a car, or to even stop buying lattes.
Step two: Create a way to measure your success. The resolution to stop paying for lattes could be measured in days without buying one or by how many caffeinated beverages made at home before a busy day. Typically, financial resolutions will be measured by dollars saved.
Step three: Decide on an expiration date. Specifying a date forces action and doesn’t allow time for procrastination. Picking a concrete day such as December 1st, 2012 puts a time limit and a countdown on a goal or resolution.
Support is vital to success in all areas of life, and people are more likely to stick to something when they know that their reputation is riding on it. Reaching goals and living up to resolutions shows a sense of dedication and self-worth to friends and family or those who have been giving their support throughout the year.
The most important thing to remember when trying to stick to a resolution is that it only takes about a month to create a habit. Survive the hump and it will be a downhill breeze for the rest of the year. The habits that someone creates in college will stay with them the rest of their lives.
College is the best time in life to implement change, start a new tradition, and adapt to new habits. As the saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
Contact CU Independent Assistant Opinion Editor Mandi Meek at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org.