While you may have lost sight of resolutions you set on 1 January, now is your chance to review your goals (or set new ones) so you can make the 2019-2020 financial year one of real achievement.
What do you want to get out of the new financial year?
July marks the start of a new financial year, and provides a timely reminder to start thinking about your goals (and potentially revisiting those resolutions you may have forgotten about from January 1).
The secret to sticking to your goals, and making this new financial year one of real achievement, is by making a few small, regular changes that will help you reap the benefits over time. So with this in mind, we’ve put together our top tips that will help you hit the ground running in getting the most out of your hard-earned cash their new financial year.
Time to plan
The new financial year presents a terrific opportunity to re-evaluate your goals and aspirations as they may have shifted over time. It’s helpful to take stock of where you are now and start making a plan to work towards where you want to be.
Don’t know where to begin? Start by calculating your net worth. Although daunting at first, this calculation is a useful starting point to see where you’re at financially, and to help you decide on some achievable goals. Simply subtract your liabilities (what you owe e.g. mortgage, loans, credit cards etc.) from your assets (what you own e.g. home, super, savings etc.) Otherwise you can always ask us to do it for you!
Once you’ve made this calculation, you can start writing down your financial goal(s) for the year. It might be to improve your net worth by a specific amount by this time next year, or to funnel money towards a specific debt so you can take a guilt-free holiday in 2020. Commit to it by marking a progress review in your calendar every three months.
Prepare a budget
Did you know that Australians’ biggest financial regret is not saving enough?
Taking control of your money and income streams is the most effective tool there is to getting your finances under control. Many people think we need to earn more but often what we really need is to spend less. Understanding what you are currently spending your money on and making small changes to these habits can instantly improve your financial position.
To get started, add up how much you spend during an average month. Then check your net income, including any income from investments or interest earned. Subtract the amount you spend from your overall income. This is the amount you are left with to put towards clearing your debts or increasing your savings.
If you’re not happy with the amount you are able to save, take a look at your spending and see if there are any areas where you could cut back. For budgeting to work, it needs to be sustainable. That generally means making smaller cutbacks and sacrifices over a longer time frame. If you failed the last time you tried to stick to a budget, it might’ve been because it was unrealistically strict for your lifestyle and needs.
Struggling to find the time to create a budget? With so many time-saving financial apps on the market, it’s worth taking a moment to track down the best tools for the job. Want the budget template that we all use? Send us an email and we’ll forward it through to you.
Are you up for the challenge?
If you’re feeling a little daring, you may like to challenge yourself to a ‘spending fast’. For one month you’ll purchase only essentials, putting all other income towards supplementing your savings or making a dent in your debt. Not only is it a fun challenge, it will teach you more about your spending habits (and why you may not be hitting those savings goals) than any spreadsheet can.
Make yourself accountable
As with any goal in life, you need to regularly review your progress. You may even need to review your goals in case they have shifted, and run over the steps you’re taking to achieve these goals (such as the basics above) to see if there are any areas you can still improve upon.
Reviewing your finances with a trusted person (whether a partner, family member, or a professional) can also help make you accountable and more likely to stick with your plan. When you share your goals with someone else, and commit to reporting back to them on your progress, it can really motivate you to keep going and help turn your new saving and spending regime into a habit.
Don’t forget to work in some ‘rewards’ when you meet certain goals and targets!
Sometimes all we need is a little push to do the things we’ve been putting off, and 30 June presents the perfect opportunity to make some new financial year resolutions. Once you’ve decided what your goals are for the new financial year, the next step is turning those dreams into reality. So start making those small changes now that will make a big difference later. It might just be something worth celebrating.
If you ever need some assistance putting your plans into action, we’re always here to help! You can get in touch with us on (07) 4646 4970, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or book your free appointment online.
Fortress Financial Solutions founder Chris Black is an award-winning financial planner based in Toowoomba who specialises in superannuation, investing, business succession, cash flow management, retirement planning and personal insurances (including life insurance, income protection, total permanent disability and trauma insurance).
Information on this site may be regarded as general advice. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any general advice we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. Where the information relates to a particular financial product, you should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase that financial product.