Goal Setting and Budgeting
Why would we be writing about goal setting on a credit information website?
Because setting the right goals can fundamentally change the outcome. Most people do not set “written” goals because they are afraid that they will be disappointed if they don’t hit the goal. Let’s use the following example: Let’s say you are going to a family reunion and decide to drive across the country. You would probably plan your route, right? Most people would investigate places to stay, make reservations, decide on eating choices, calculate your gas mileage and estimate the time it will take to complete each leg of the trip. Ultimately, you will have a plan for how long it will take and how much it will cost. The plan makes the journey more enjoyable. Now, if your car breaks down along the way, it will disrupt your plan. Does that mean your plan was bad or simply that some unforeseen circumstance delayed you for a short time? Clearly, your life goals are more important than a family vacation and sometimes life happens.
Set Smart Goals
There are two types of goals; activity goals and ultimate goals. An ultimate goal might be to pay off a credit card balance of $10,000 in 2 years. The activity goal might be to get a second job or ask for a raise to earn an extra $500 per month to pay off your credit card. An ultimate goal without a written activity goal is called “wishing”. There are many resources and Websites that offer free information and advice on goal setting. We even found some good information on www.wikipedia.org. Another great site is http://topachievement.com Top achievement recommends establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted or S.M.A.R.T. objectives.
The process of writing down your goals actually gets you more committed to the goal. For example, if you want to lose 100 pounds, make that a 5 year goal. That’s 20 pounds per year. When you break down that goal to a quarterly goal, that’s 5 pounds every 3 months. The activity goal might be mild exercise like walking for 20 minutes 3 days a week or eliminating one thing from your diet during the week. See, you can achieve a big goal if you just write it down, break the goal up into short term activity goals and pull out that written sheet every so often. As you attain the short term goals, it will give you the confidence to set even bigger goals. Successful people all have one thing in common. They set goals and they feel like they have a chance at running their life and not the other way around. One of the most important aspects of goal setting is having a financial and career plan.
Budget Your Way To Financial Independence and Success
Are You Playing Life’s Lottery? Maybe you’re just starting out in your adult life or maybe you’ve been at it for decades. It doesn’t matter how much money you make or don’t make. Budgets are for everyone. If you are typically someone who shuns discipline, you will not like this section. Following budgets take discipline and writing one is not very fun. The thing that is fun about following a budget is achieving your financial goals as a result of having one. That is exactly the point. If you don’t know where you are spending your money, how much you need to survive and how much you will need in the future, you are playing life’s lottery every day.
Successful companies and people have budgets. Budgets are driven by “GOALS”. When successful companies set out to plan a new year, they have certain goals to increase their sales, decrease their expenses, increase profits, identify new markets and products and many more initiatives. They can’t do everything all at once. They must pick and choose what opportunities to address and fund. Similarly, as consumers, we can’t do it all now and pay later. If the roof needs replacing, we probably need to delay buying that new 60″ LED television or taking that cruise we’ve been wanting so badly. A new roof or fixing the car is boring but not making the right financial decision can cause greater costs down the road. You might be saying “I can’t afford a budget”. That’s when you need a budget the most. If you are over your head at the moment, in debt, out of work and feeling hopeless, get a piece of paper and a pencil and start out by identifying all of your expenses. Carry a pocket notepad with you and record every purchase you make for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, you will be amazed at the areas in your life that can save you money. Just try it. What do you have to lose? Once you have all of your expenses documented, you need to identify your monthly income and also ways to potentially increase your income. This process is exactly the same one a qualified debt counseling agency uses with its’ clients. Many people are fearful of writing down their debts because they don’t want to change their spending habits or face their financial situation head on. Just remember, America believes in second chances. It’s OK. You will get through it. Just take the first step. Sometimes, a part-time job can help a great deal while you are still working on that dream job. Maybe you can sell something that’s been sitting in your attic. Maybe your kids can help out with some small contribution from a part-time job. Every dollar counts. You may also need to face the fact that a career change is necessary. It is a very difficult thing to face, especially if you are over 40 and spent much of your life dedicated to a specific industry or profession that is now in decline. But wait, there’s good news here! Recognizing the problem is the first and biggest step toward a new profession. List your talents on a piece of paper. Are you a hard worker? Do you have a degree? What would you like to do? Is there a need for your skill? You’ll be suprised at how problems will start to disappear once you set yourself in the right direction. Stay focused and know that your successful journey is made up of good days and bad days. It’s just part of a process.
THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SITE IS THE BEST ONE WE HAVE FOUND FOR FINANCIAL INFORMATION ON A VARIETY OF TOPICS.
It’s called WWW.MYMONEY.GOV. It is sponsored by the Federal Government. A great resource.
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