"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." --Michael Jordan
On Thursday we announced the addition of Katrina (AKA Kate) Welker to the team, which was followed by a special edition podcast release on Friday (click here to listen). Now you get to hear from her via her first blog post! We hope you enjoy this edition.
I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, but January always feels like a time for a fresh start and to go into January prepared. The winter is a very busy season for me and combined with the way I ate over the holidays I told myself I was going to conquer meal planning. I used some Christmas gift cards to purchase myself a new cookbook, my goal to have some new recipes to get excited about and it included a section with meal plans, perfect! I have looked at the pretty pictures, my mouth watered at the finished product, and made exactly one recipe. The late afternoon conversation about what’s for dinner answered with “I’m still figuring it out” happening more than I care to admit. As winter moves on a majority of people find that their New Year’s resolutions that began so bright and promising are now dusty or forgotten. That pledge to go to the gym everyday might have turned into every other Saturday, eating healthy forgotten to the lure of hearty comfort food in cold temps.
A History.com article traces the roots of New Year’s resolutions back to the ancient Babylonians and Romans. These early celebrations were times to look back on the past year and make promises of good behavior in the future.
When I think of popular resolutions weight loss/fitness/eating healthier are the first that come to mind, but many people are thinking of money. Likely inspired by the Christmas spending or looming credit card bills New Year seems the appropriate time to change your financial habits.
Why not choose now to resolve to change your financial habits? January is the start of the year, but every morning is the start of a new day and the chance to say today I change.
I recently saw a sign that read “Fitness isn’t a seasonal hobby. Fitness is a lifestyle.” The same applies to financial responsibility. Your personal finances are a huge part of your life; without changing your mindset to think of your financial action plan as part of your lifestyle, success will be that much harder to attain.
Following are some steps to take:
Set clear concise goals- Instead of saying “I’d like to save more” Make a measurable goal such as “I will add $500 a month to my emergency fund” or “I will contribute 3% more to my retirement plan.” Being able to see your progress will make it easier to stick to your plan.
Create a budget- You need a budget to stay on track and know what resources you have to contribute towards a goal. Find what works for you. There are numerous worksheets available online and some nice budgeting apps.
Automate your goal- Find ways to reach your goals while spending less energy on it. If your goal is to build emergency savings, contact your bank to see if they can automatically transfer the amount each month. If your goal is to eliminate late payment charges, set up notifications in your phone.
Create roadblocks- Make it difficult to get off track. Place savings in a separate account not linked to your checking, set up automatic payments for bills, have a friend call you out if she notices those extra latte purchases. Get creative.
Make a date with yourself- Set a time each week or each day to review and write it in your calendar. Look at your goal and see how much progress you’ve made. If you haven’t made progress look back over the week to see where you went off course. Enter spending into your budget worksheet, follow up on the paperwork you sent out, and make sure the bills are organized and payments set up.
Professional support- Seek out the support of a financial planner. We want you to succeed and our goal is to show you the steps to make that happen.
I have recently worked on my weekly schedule and I included a time block for meal planning and prep, I made an appointment with myself. Taking that 30 minutes to focus on just that one task has been extremely helpful. Wish me luck and feel free to keep me accountable and ask me what’s for dinner!