To gear up for a new year, we’re focusing on financial wellness, which means the health of your savings and bank accounts. We recently looked at spending habits: how to assess, manage, and monitor your charges to get them under control. Today’s post looks at another aspect of financial wellness–how to create a savings plan.
Don’t be scared! This is fun. Savings plans are a crucial step towards your financial goals. But how to build one? Let’s attack with a little strategy called spark, script, and share.
SPARK. Close your eyes. Okay, close them after you read this. Picture yourself two years from now. This is harder than you think! I like to start by imagining myself on the street and what I’m wearing in detail. (This is the fun part). I imagine my shoes, my coat, all aspects of my clothes. Now that you can see yourself, visualize one image that reflects strong financial management–buying a property, or leasing a car, or any other financial goal. Ok, now close!
SCRIPT. Write your goal down. Anywhere. Your diary. A post-it. Your daily to-do list. Putting your objectives into words forces you to think more clearly. It can also help to make them your goals more tangible and realistic.
SHARE. Tell it to someone else. Email your best friend. Text your boyfriend. Or tell us! You can post it below on GoGirl Finance. Or, I’m at – Jordana@sparesugar.com
Now you’ve set your vision. This is crucial. As Yogi Berra says, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Don’t worry, we’ll get you there.
But how? You’ve got to create a savings plan that leads to your financial goals. Last week you scrubbed up on your spending habits, so now you’ve got a better idea of how much you can really put away. Setting up an automatic savings plan which deducts directly from your monthly pay check is a solid approach. A word of caution: savings rates at banks are low at the moment, so shop around. If your employer offers some kind of savings plan–like an IRA–chose the option that offers you the highest rate of return or interest rate. This is will get you closer to where you want to go.
But if you feel discouraged, may I suggest a dose of compromise? Consider revising your timeline, or redefining aspects of your vision. For example, if you dream of buying a car, maybe go with the non-leather interior to make it more affordable?
But most importantly–if your savings plan seems to slow, don’t give up hope! It’s often said that obstacles are things a person sees when she takes her eyes off her goal.