Welcome to 2017! It would seem we’ve survived the last year and now it’s time try and make this one the best it can be. For many that means creating New Years Resolution although, admittedly, I’ve never really been big on such things.
Despite that minor opposition, I can’t help but feel like I do need to set some new goals in terms of my finances for 2017. In the few months since I started this Money at 30 (sidenote: my birthday is coming up this month so maybe I should change the name to Money at 31?) I’ve had successes and, for lack of a better term, failures when it comes to money. In turn I’m always obliged to share my experiences, thoughts, and opinions with all of you on a weekly basis. On that note I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve determined will be my money goals for 2017:
Goal #1: Continue to build my online savings account
Last year I opened a new savings account with Discover Bank and within two months had made some significant deposits to it. Unfortunately the holidays and other expenses put a halt to those contributions (although I did thankfully stave off any withdrawal). But, starting this month, I’m getting back on track. Let it be written that I, Kyle Burbank, will deposit no less than $300 to said account on any given month in 2017. Obviously that won’t be enough to earn us that down payment for a house anytime soon but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Perhaps more importantly it’s a tangible goal. There are countless studies that say more nebulous goals, such as saving more money to buy a house, have little to no chance of being met. On the other hand a tangible goal, e.g. $x put into savings, is far more likely to be met. It’s fine to set big picture goals but make sure to tie them to everyday actionable behaviors.
Goal #2: Avoid missing out on an experience because of money
This year my wife and I have a few trips planned in addition to a couple of business trips that have already made their way to my calendar. Well, to be honest, more often than not our vacations do include some amount of work on my part. In most cases this is great as it helps subsidize costs but, at other times, it also limits how much we get to do while away. Additionally I’ve found that the thriftiness I pride myself on at home works to my disadvantage abroad and leaves me with regrets on the flight back.
That’s why one of my goals this year is to ensure I’m taking full advantage of my travel adventures and not letting money get in the way of what could be a once in a lifetime experience. This isn’t to say that I’m going to start blowing funds on expensive room service meals or spa treatments just because I’m on vacation. However, when we go to Paris later this year, you better believe that we’re going to have a nice, authentic meal that will likely cost us a pretty penny. Of course we’ll be sure to budget accordingly and save up for these splurges but we won’t let a great opportunity pass us by. After all we already spent a lot of money to visit a new city — why not make the most of it? Bottom line: if you plan for your splurges in advance it shouldn’t wreck your financial goals for the year.
Goal #3: Give more
A few months back I reflected on the fact that my improved finances had made me a more generous person overall. That’s a trend I’m looking to continue in 2017.
As I mentioned previously, in general, using “more” in your goals is a surefire way to fail. Goals need to be specific and measurable, which “give more” is decidedly not. That said I’m going to let myself off the hook with this one as charity can be more impulsive than other parts of finance. When a worthy cause comes to my attention that I think could use my support, I’ll then determine how much I can give and do so (and boy will it feel good too). Paying it forward is a worthy pursuit. Find a way to fit it into your overall finances.
In 2017 I intend to continue my financial journey and report back to all of you. Furthermore I’m happy to announce that I’ll be contributing additional articles to Dyer News from time to time beyond my regular Tuesday column starting in 2017. So here’s to a great year of meeting our money goals together!