At a Glance
It’s the first week of a new year. That means resolutions are in full swing. And for this week, the gyms will be full, closets will be organized, and you may even finally start knitting that sweater you have been talking about for years. But then it will be mid-January (January 19th is the day of the month most people give up on their financial resolutions), and all of that will have stopped or, at the very least, slowed down, and that sweater will never get a second arm. You’ll try to tell people you always intended it to be a one-armed sweater, but you know the truth. You gave up because it was annoying and hard, and there are so many new shows starting on Hulu this week.
Don’t get us wrong, resolutions can be great for goal setting, but they can also be so fixed and almost impossible. What if you just wanted to make a small change to how you approached an aspect of life like your finances? Sure, it would be great to pay off your debts by a certain month (and the debt snowball calculator can help you do that) but maybe the first step is just getting your attitude right. And the first month of the year is a great time to do that.
Kari Lorz, a Certified Financial Education Instructor and founder at MoneyfortheMamas.com, told Credello, “The New Year is the perfect time to handle your finances. Things are fresh, new, and full of possibilities – even your finances. Many people put off dealing with their finances because they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, so they don’t. They are essentially trapped by their own money mindset.”
Taking control of your finances only requires a few small shifts in your every day life. Just like an athlete has to get their game face on, you need to get your finance face on so you can come out on top. Here are a number of financial experts’ best tips for how to get (and stay) in financial shape this year:
Visualize your money goals
Molly Ford-Coates is an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) and the founder and CEO of Ford Financial Management. She said, “Creating a vision board really pulls what is in your mind and puts it visually in front of you. When you display what you want to create with your money and see it everyday, you will find a shift in your financial mindset. You can write words, paste pictures, or create your action plan. Just get it displayed for that daily visual reminder and daily motivation.”
Reframe your negative thoughts about money
Jordon Scrinko, the Founder & Marketing Director of Precondo, a website that helps investors and first-time buyers get advice and access to Pre-Construction developments across Canada, says there is a constructive way to deal with all the negative thoughts that enter your mind when you think about money.
“Challenge invading, negative thoughts that may come when you are worried by re-framing them as positive opportunities rather than threats to develop your financial attitude. Knowing yourself and being honest about who you are is an important part of having a good financial mentality. We’re all impulsive, emotional, and untidy people. Overly strict budgets that don’t allow for your odd impulse can sabotage all of your attempts to better your financial situation.”
Think of your money plan as a game
And who doesn’t like winning a game? James Anderson, founder of www.SmartMov.co, told Credello, “There is that thrill of saving! Seriously, who doesn’t like a good deal? I love to “win” by getting a discount on things. I pay my insurance in full to get the discount. I have a sinking fund for my deductibles in order to increase my deductibles, to get a discount. When shopping for anything, I’m always negotiating on price and quality. Those small victories always get saved either in a sinking fund or an investment account.”
Get some money buddies
Anderson said it helps to have a support group. “Another way I found that helps to get in the right mindset is to start talking about it. You can find some great groups on Facebook, and SmartMov is attempting to create that atmosphere to talk openly about the ways we save and invest. The more we talk about it, even with perfect strangers, the more we become confident. I was not confident that I could run a marathon until I did it. I did it because I built up to it with training.“
Picture what your retirement looks like
Nick Rubright, founder of New Reach Marketing in Tampa, Florida, said thinking about your retirement can be a great way to get you excited about finance. “Imagine your life in high definition in the future, and use it as an incentive while you plan for retirement today. If you can picture your ideal in every detail, if you can fix your gaze on it, I’m confident you’ll be able to put forth the work required to meet your goals. Having a vision for your retirement is still extremely motivating if you’re still in debt or don’t have an emergency fund. Take that dream and use it to fuel your desire to reach a point where you can invest even more quickly!”
Express your gratitude for what you do have
Bridget Chebo is Director of Customer Success at We Are Working, and she thinks gratitude is the key to this mindset shift. “Gratitude is a powerful tool for refocusing your attention. When you are grateful, you put greater emphasis on the things you have to be grateful for as well as all the good that has come your way. Gratitude also promotes contentment, which is important for wealth accumulation because when you are pleased with what you have, you are less motivated to spend, spend, spend in order to achieve financial fulfillment, which doesn’t always work because there is always something new to buy.”
Change is hard. Ask anyone. But even a small step can eventually make a huge impact on your life over time. Consider this advice from these experts as a roadmap for making this the year you invest in yourself and your financial mindset.