What would you like your money to do for you this 2020? Your answer will lead you to identify financial goals. Financial goals are targets to hit.  With financial goals, money management falls into place.  Good money management leads to financial freedom.  Financial freedom breeds peace of mind.  Instead of being overwhelmed with the long list of needs and wants, aiming for peace of mind today can be the best way to start 2020. How to do that? Let’s take it one step at a time.

Run Your Own Financial Track

Each person’s financial situation is unique. No two persons have the same lifestyle and bills to pay, nor the same needs and want. When you resolve to take control of your money management, you have to identify your starting point and your destination. Your starting point is your financial reality. Your destination is the specific things you want to obtain in the end. It is similar to personally declaring, “I am a working student juggling two jobs after school to cover for my tuition fee, rental, food, and utilities, and aiming to buy own home next year, buy a car, get into a paid fitness program, and get a new pet.”  Your starting point situates you to your reality, while your target destination points you to what you want your money to obtain for you. Your financial reality and your destination will prompt you to analyze your money flow.

Study Your Money Flow

Can my regular stream of incoming resources sustain my existing expenses and still obtain for me the things I want to have?  Looking at these closely is doing financial mapping. It asks you, “Are my sources of income not enough/enough/more than enough to sustain my regular expenses?”, “What expenses can I adjust so that my income will be enough to sustain my expenses?” “Which among my expenses are wants and needs?”, “Are there possible income streams that I can open/invest/explore?”  Priorities are set when you understand how money travels to you and away from you. Doing so pushes SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) financial goals.

Create Your Own Smart Financial Goals

After taking a closer look at your financial reality, things you want to obtain, and your incoming and outgoing money, it is time to write down specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Make it simple yet workable. Examples are, minimizing spending inefficiencies (i.e., lower water bill by 10% starting 2nd month by using a glass when brushing teeth and minimizing soaking in the bath tub to once a week instead of doing it daily, save 5 dollars per week starting January by preparing lunch to work instead of buying at the cafeteria, etc.), adjusting current money flow (i.e., identify three possible investments by end of quarter 1, apply for three part-time jobs by end of February). Personalize your smart financial goals. Own it and let it roll.

Imagine yourself playing darts as you plan your 2020 financial goals. Label your dartboard targets as your smart financial goals. The darts are your concrete actions aimed at hitting the dartboard. Aim for consistency and never stop trying. When efforts wobble at first, keep at it and persevere. Setting financial goals will redefine your money management. Money management can lead you to financial freedom, and let you soak in peace of mind. Here’s to starting and ending your days with peace of mind this 2020!

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