Let’s face it; blokes need their toys. Barbeques, chainsaws, motorbikes, fishing gear – stuff that makes life fun. But do you often find yourself in the position of having to choose between a 12-inch sub-woofer and your next mortgage payment? Are you depriving yourself of the cool things because you’re saving all your spare money for retirement? If that’s the case, it might be because you don’t have a well-designed financial plan.
An effective financial plan needs to fit you as well as a new pair of footy boots. So, whether you’re setting up a new plan or updating an existing one, either on your own or with some professional help, here are eight tips for success:
Set your goals
Every plan needs goals that are both clear and measurable. Without them, you don’t know where you’re going or when you’ve arrived.
Include some quick wins
While some of your goals might be long-term and challenging, it’s also important to include smaller, achievable goals that you can conquer in the short-term. Like watching your favourite sport, ticking off goals releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone.
A plan that’s too strict and doesn’t allow for the odd treat is likely to be abandoned, so build in a few concessions to keep your motivation up. It could be something as simple as beers with the boys, a road-trip to the beach, or a romantic weekend with your better half.
Remember, actions have consequences
Be mindful of your financial decisions and the effects they might have on your lifestyle. This one might sound a bit daunting, but trust us, it gets easier as it becomes a habit. Think carefully about things like taking on short-term debt, making impulse purchases, and all the small everyday items that can add up without you noticing.
We have developed some tools and tips to help our customers realise their financial goals, prepare for retirement and paying off their mortgage faster. Find out more
A really good financial plan is one that changes with you. Life’s big things (new jobs, new relationships, changes of location) have a habit of cropping up when you least expect them. Be prepared to adapt your plan to make the most of new opportunities and challenges.
There’s no point setting an overly-ambitious plan that isn’t achievable. If it’s too restrictive, you’ll struggle to stick to it, and failing to meet your goals is demoralising.
There are some great free resources that can get you started. Sorted.org.nz has great tips to get you started or to keep you on track.
Take control of your finances rather than letting them control you. By knowing exactly how much you earn, owe, and need to save, and how you’re going to manage those things, you’ll be able to make much better financial decisions day-to-day. The best way to take control is to…
Perhaps you’re just too busy to sit down and work out your own plan. Maybe spreadsheets and financial analyses bore you to death. Or perhaps you’ve got it mostly worked out, and you just want a second opinion to make sure you’re on the right track. Getting a professional financial analyst to prepare or review your plan gives you the peace of mind that you’re maximising your income and assets, and not over-spending on things like loans and insurances.
With a good financial plan and a bit of determination, you can work out how to have the retirement savings plan and the new barbeque. Happy grilling!