The surest way to reach your goals is to get started today: here's five simple money strategies to help with that.
Hands up if you have big dreams for your future? Keep them up if you’ve already got your finances sorted?
Whether your dream is to travel the world, work for yourself or give your children the best education you can afford, when it comes to organising your finances, it’s easy to put off the detail.
We think one day we’ll have more time, more money or more willpower... but tomorrow never comes, unless we take action today.
The hardest part is often just getting started.
Here’s five ways to beat procrastination in less than five minutes:
1. Get started
Have you ever spent days or weeks dreading a task that ended up taking only half an hour of your time? Procrastination not only creates future problems, it makes us feel bad. So do yourself a favour and commit to spending 15 minutes now to tackle your finances.
Take a financial task you’ve been avoiding, such as searching for a better home loan. Go online to check what’s on offer then ring your lender to ask for a better deal. Often your existing lender is only too happy to help and you’ll be happy with the money you save.
2. Outsmart yourself
Successful people often say they start the day doing the most important tasks first. Unfortunately, most of us do the opposite.
Our self-talk often goes something like this: “I’ll think about drawing up a proper budget after I watch an episode of Game of Thrones/walk the dog/check Facebook.” You know your favourite time-wasting tricks, so devise clever ways to reduce wriggle room and turn thought into action.
Schedule time with your partner to go over your household spending and look for savings. Or make an appointment with a financial adviser so you have no choice but to be prepared.
3. Set up automatic payments
Take a few minutes to automate payments for regular bills from gas, electricity and internet providers, even your mortgage. This simple step will ensure you don’t have the opportunity to procrastinate and may save you a packet in late fees.
While you’re at it, why not set up a monthly transfer of cash you are happy to save into a high-interest account. It’s a painless and effortless way to save. What’s more, if your money is quarantined you are less likely to spend it.
4. Convert big goals into easy steps
Big goals can sometimes seem so daunting that you let them slide, especially when life is hectic and time is short. One way to get around this is to break big goals down into manageable steps with clearly-defined actions at every stage.
Saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for a child’s education is an example of a long-term goal that may seem out of reach. But if you break it into mini-deadlines your plan is more likely to become reality. These might be to research your options, work out how much you can afford to put aside each month and then to start a regular savings plan.
5. Run your own race
There is so much pressure to get ahead these days, and so many things we feel we should be doing. Some days it seems as if everyone but you is buying an investment property, trading shares, studying for an MBA or developing a clever app – the list is endless. It’s no wonder we feel guilty or frozen into inaction.
While it’s tempting to think that an investment property would transform your finances and your life, not everyone is cut out to be a landlord. But most people can be an investor. You could start by attending a seminar, opening an account with an online broker, or talking to your employer about sacrificing some of your pre-tax salary into super.
Rather than following someone else’s idea about what you ‘should’ be doing, concentrate on what motivates you and pursue it.