Have you set some financial goals for yourself, such as creating a rainy-day fund, saving for a down-payment on a home, or putting money away for retirement? That’s great! It’s easy to lose motivation for your goals, however, especially if they are long-term objectives. There are ways that you can maintain that focus so that you can achieve your financial objectives.
Know Your Purpose
It’s easier to keep your money goals in the forefront when you know what you’re saving for. Otherwise, what’s the point? Some ideas include:
- A parent can use the desire to give their children an education as motivation for putting money towards a college-savings plan.
- An employee who wants to create their own business and be financially independent is motivated to save money to invest in their future business.
- A worker who dreams of traveling more during retirement is motivated to save for the many trips he or she will be taking.
Keep reminders close by to keep your motivation going, such as a picture of your kids on your desk or a list of places you want to visit.
Brainstorm What You Want
Knowing your purpose is all well and good, but what if you aren’t sure what your financial motivation is in the first place? Take some time to let your mind wander and brainstorm. Think about:
- Where do you want to be financially in 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years from now?
- What kind of living situation do you want (apartment, townhouse, single-family home)?
- What part of the country do you want to live in?
- Do you want to get married and have a family?
- Would you like to travel?
- When would you like to retire?
Jot down your ideas so that you can refer back to them later and begin to create a plan for accomplishing your goals.
Break Up a Long-Term Goal into Smaller Pieces
One way to maintain motivation is to break up a large, long-term goal into smaller chunks. Create benchmarks for yourself that you expect will be reasonable for you to achieve. For instance, you can say that you will have a certain amount in your retirement fund in 10, 20, and 30-year increments. If over time you realize that your original goal isn’t realistic or that you have surpassed it, recalibrate to what you think is achievable.
Give Yourself a Reward
When you think of having a money goal do you imagine having to make sacrifices? Sure there are times when you will want to make personal choices that support your goals. However, you can still reward yourself every now and then too! Incorporate rewards into your long-term strategy for saving. For example, being able to save $1000 over two months could mean you treat yourself to a night at the movies.
Don’t Sacrifice Your Financial Goals
Everyone has financial obligations, whether it’s the electric bill or putting food on the table. It’s tempting to let your personal money goals fall by the wayside when there are more pressing issues in front of you. Also, you may have a desire to help others financially, such as helping adult children with continuing their education. However, don’t let your desire to help your family be the reason that you sacrifice your retirement savings or set aside your financial goals.
Consult with a Therapist
Want some additional help to keep you motivated? A therapist who specializes in financial therapy can help you create financial objectives, designing a plan to achieve your goals, and incorporating what motivates you into your overall financial plan. If you don’t know what they are, a therapist can help you identify these qualities too.
Your motivation should be what inspires you to best use your money. You can use this inspiration to create reasonable and achievable goals as well as a reward for making your objectives. A financial therapist can be a great resource for better understanding your motivation so that you can make the most of your financial goals.
Denise Kautzer is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Certified Public Accountant whose practice is located in St. Paul, MN. You can view her website at www.denisekautzer.com or contact her at email@example.com.