And just like that, in the blink of an eye another year is nearly done and dusted. With the pandemic affecting the finances of many of us, 2021 has been just as challenging as 2020, and the financial turmoil continues.
But 2022 doesn’t have to follow the same pattern as the first two years of this decade. It’s time to get things in order, so take a few minutes to check out our financial pointers and money-saving tips to help you plan your financial goals - and make 2022 your best financial year yet!
Evaluate your current situation
Financial planning begins with knowing where you stand. Whether you’ve set your goals previously or you’re new at this, and whether you’re focussed on long-term or short-term goals, evaluating your current situation can help you put yourself on the right path.
Assessing your income, budget, income tax situation, and net worth can help you prioritise your goals.
Review your goals
Things are a lot different now than a year or two ago. What could have been a feasible goal then, might not be achievable right now. That said, find some distraction-free time to revisit your goals.
Write them down in a journal and identify which of your goals are still realistically achievable and which ones should be changed. Rearrange them in priority order, and make sure to cross them out as you achieve them in 2022. It’s important to have some smaller goals as well as more challenging goals - so you feel like you are achieving them as the year progresses.
Apply the S.M.A.R.T. principle
The S.M.A.R.T. principle is nothing new, but it’s very relevant when it comes to goal setting. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound, and it applies to financial planning, too.
S - Being specific is a critical component in achieving your goals. Saying you want to have a better financial situation in 2022 is not specific. Instead, you could say, “I will pay off my credit card debt before Easter 2022.” Now, that’s specific.
M – Setting measurable goals means knowing how much you need to achieve a specific goal. So – “I will save $10,000 towards a new car before my next birthday".
A – Don’t set the bar too high, or you may end up failing to achieve your goals. That’s why it’s vital to do the first two steps above so you can identify which goals are realistically achievable and which are just dreams.
R – Create a budget so you can set realistic goals. Setting a money-saving goal of $50,000 within six months is easy to say. But if you’re only making $5,000 a month, that’s not, in any way, realistic.
T – Not knowing when you want to achieve your goals will most likely make you not achieve them at all. Set a certain amount of time for each goal so you have a deadline – and then focus on achieving it.
Monitor your progress
At this point, you now know your current financial situation, and you’ve already set your goals and priorities. What’s next? Our best tip is to keep regularly monitoring your progress. Achieving your goals won’t happen overnight. Consider separating short-term from long-term goals so you have a simpler way of knowing where your progress stands at specific points.
Monitoring your progress is a good start, but not following through is a sure way to fail. There may be months where you struggle to achieve your target. Hold yourself accountable and understand why these setbacks happen. You may be overspending on some areas because it’s difficult to say no to that night out or that coffee catch up with friends. Everything you spend your hard-earned money on can affect your financial goals, so keep a close watch on what you’re spending and where you’re spending it. Being financially accountable means you reap what you sow.
Make adjustments whenever needed
You may have done your financial planning perfectly. You’re satisfied with what you have laid out for your goals. But life always has a way of disrupting even the best-laid plans. For example, a decrease in your income or even an unexpected job loss or expense could result in a temporary stumbling block. If this happens, don’t worry - simply adjust your goals and their timelines so they are more realistic, given your current situation.
Celebrate small successes
Planning your financial future and setting goals are intended to create your building blocks for success, not stress you out. Celebrate even the smallest of successes. For example, you have finally achieved your goal of saving that $10,000 to put towards your new car - go ahead and reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be a lavish celebration. Maybe a quick dinner out with the family, a drink or two in your favourite bar, or even buy yourself some new clothes or that kitchen gadget you’ve had your eye on.
What’s your takeaway?
Setting your monetary goals will change your mindset and your finances. But most of all, it will change your life. If you need help to jumpstart your financial goals, just take a look at our cash loans up to $5K to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually deposit the cash into your bank account within a few hours - so you can make 2022 your best year yet!