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End of Year Reflection

Reflecting on your finances

New year, new you? Sounds great in theory, but it can be tough to make it happen. The truth is, there’s no simple solution that will magically change your life, but you can take small steps every day to work toward your goals – personally, professionally AND financially.

Wondering how to achieve your financial goals this year? Here are a few tips to get on track for the best year yet.

1. Reflect on your achievements – big and small.
The first step is to focus on how far you’ve already come. We tend to focus our energy on how to fix the negatives, but it’s good to enjoy our successes, too. Start by writing down three things you’ve improved on in the last year – even just small stuff, like finally setting up those automatic savings deposits. Then challenge yourself to choose one of those things and think about how you could improve on it even more. Maybe it’s adding a couple extra bucks to your savings deposit each month or trying a no-takeout challenge where you don’t eat any meals out for a month. This positive energy will be the fuel that drives you into the new year feeling ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

2. Determine your goals.
Next, think about what you want to accomplish this year. Are you ready to get serious about saving for a home? Do you want to finally take that trip you’re always talking about? Or maybe you just want to figure out a budget that works for you and stick to it. The truth is you probably have a lot of different goals. The most important thing is that you take the time to think about them and prioritize. Looking at our budget planning worksheets can be a great place to start to help identify where in your budget you might have room to play.

3. Identify barriers and look for ways around them.
We all have areas we could improve on when it comes to our finances, but it can be overwhelming to work on them all at the same time. We suggest starting with one or two changes that would have the biggest impact on achieving your goals. For example, if your goal is to start saving for a home, challenge yourself to skip one latte per week and put that money in your “home” fund. Then build on that by skipping a latte and one meal out. Or if you have debt hanging over your head, try using the debt snowball method to get it paid off faster. The satisfaction of accomplishing these small milestones will give you the motivation you need to tackle bigger and bigger challenges. Yes, really – there’s  a science behind it!

4. Plan as much as you can.
There will always be things we can’t plan for, whether it’s an auto repair bill or a sudden change in employment. That’s why it’s so important to plan for everything else. Use our budget tracking spreadsheet to figure out exactly where your money is going each month, and come up with a plan for how you’re going to accomplish your goals for the year. Check out our free online resources like our auto and mortgage calculators to help you do the math. And don’t be afraid to connect with a Summit financial expert. They can talk through your options and help come up with a plan that’s both savvy and attainable.

With the right planning, we know you’ll own it in the new year! And as always, if you need help along the way, you know where to find us.

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