It’s a well-known fact that things tend to turn out better when you have a plan, especially when it comes to savings, retirement and personal finance in general.
For example, recent research by Zurich showed that those who set goals for when they are aged 65 or over, such as travelling more, taking up new hobbies or being in a position to financially support children and grandchildren saved on average 7.25% of their salary into their pension, while those who didn’t know what their aspirations were for the same period saved just 5.36%.
Here are some of my top tips for succeeding with your money goals, plus some information about Zurich’s #shareyourgoal competition where four lucky winners are each going to get £5,000 to put towards their financial plans and an expert financial assessment to help them on their way.
How to succeed with setting & sticking to financial goals
There are so many ways to help yourself succeed when you’re trying to create positive changes in your finances, and in life in general. Here are a few ideas to get you off to a flying start:
*Write goals down or say them out loud
This creates a statement of your intentions, fixing it in your mind, and it also helps to create focus and clarity about what you really want.
*Break your goals down into smaller steps
While a large or long-term goal may seem very daunting, breaking it down into simple, specific steps can make it feel much more manageable and achievable. For example, the idea of finding a £20,000 deposit for your first home might make many people’s hearts sink, but saving £400 per month for four years and two months would bring that lump sum within reach. Meeting these monthly targets, or sub-tasks, gives you a sense of achievement as your brain releases dopamine as a reward, helping to keep you going with your longer term plan.
*Share your goals with others
When you share your goals with friends, partner, family or you make them completely public, you make yourself accountable. If you don’t meet your goals, you run the risk of losing face – so you’re going to be more motivated to stick to your plan. On a more positive note, the people you tell are likely to be encouraging and supportive, which can also help you to carry on when times get tough.
*Get someone to nag you
Telling other people about your goals usually means that some of them will probably ask you how you’re getting on. You can add some extra spice to it by getting a friend to nag you about your progress on a regular basis, because you won’t want to let them – or yourself – down. You could even add some jeopardy with a trusted friend by giving them a favourite item of yours that they can give away or sell if you fail in your quest, or giving them some cash to look after that they will donate to a cause you especially dislike if you don’t meet your agreed goal.
*Set related goals with people you know
Having like-minded people around you can be a great help when you’re working towards your targets. Becoming part of a small or large goal-setting community can be a brilliant way to bounce around ideas, learn from the successes and failures of others, and create realistic plans. It can also help to create or deepen friendships, and if you’re the competitive sort then it’ll give you an extra kick to try harder.
How to enter the Zurich competition
Zurich’s #shareyourgoal social media competition will reward four winners with £5,000 to put towards an experience connected to their life goal and a financial assessment.
To enter you must share a description, photo, or video of your life goal. Remember to use the hashtag #shareyourgoal as part of your post or tweet, or your comment on the Zurich Facebook page.
All competition winners will be announced by April 17th. Full competition terms and conditions are available on the Zurich website.
Full disclosure: Created in association with Zurich.