A couple of years ago I saw a bill board that read “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Rear.” I thought it was hilarious. The bill board was promoting getting into physical shape at a local health facility after the Christmas holidays.
As a certified spin instructor and weight lifting instructor, I’ve been convalescing a very bad knee for the past several weeks. To the point where it has left me not wanting to ride a bike, pick up a weight and barely able to walk. Getting this knee taken care of is not a one-time event, and neither is getting into financial shape. It will be a process that will take time, money, commitment, and some behavioral changes. Getting into financial shape will also take time, money, commitment, discipline, and a change in behavior. I’ve identified six key points to help us achieve a healthier financial 2017.
1. Know your numbers
You can’t manage what you don’t know. Create a starting point with knowing your numbers. Know your weight, know your credit score, and know how you’re spending your money.
Your weight is an indicator of your physical health.
Your credit score is an indicator of your financial health and how you’re currently managing credit.
You need to know where your money is going. Track your expenses on a weekly basis. Add it all up. METEC’s has certified housing counselors and financial coaches that will conduct a financial analysis, and help you create a spending plan tailored to your goals.
2. Set SMART goals
Getting financially fit and physically fit means having specific goals to keep you focused. Goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based.
3. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Based
When it comes to finances the financial coach will ask you what your goals are. You may want to save for a vacation or buy a house. Determine what’s most important, how much will you need to save to achieve your goal, and by what date and time you want your goal to happen.
4. Be disciplined
Assess all of the opportunities available to help you stay on track and save. Use a free tax preparation service to get your taxes done by certified tax preparers. Pack your lunch instead of spending five dollars a day to eat out. Consider opening a bank account that you can’t get into so easily and have direct deposit into it once a month. METEC provides several asset building and credit building products to keep you disciplined.
5. Work with an expert
METEC’s staff are certified financial coaches, housing counselors, and tax preparers.
6. Monitor your success
Tracking your success and hitting small milestones is very gratifying. Make sure you know your numbers so you can use them as a benchmark for success.