What are your money goals for this year? To give yourself the best chance at achieving them, your goals need to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Setting timely goals means giving yourself a timeframe to achieve them.
With a SMART goal in mind, you now need to set up a plan for how you’ll achieve it. For example, if you want to save $5,000 by the end of the year, work out how much you can allocate to that goal each pay day.
A budget will help you to map out your finances and work out where your money is going. Start with the essential costs like rent or mortgage, food, bills and transport, then allocate money for any debts you’re paying off. Anything left over can go towards your other money goals.
Having savings set aside will help cover you in case of an emergency and will also help you reach your bigger money goals. Set up an automatic recurring payment to regularly transfer money into a high-interest savings account that is easy to deposit into but hard to withdraw from.
We have lots of tips to help you zero in on your savings if you’re:
Check out our savings infographic to see what other people are saving for and how they are reaching their savings goals.
If you want to get on top of your debt in 2020, break down what you owe into manageable chunks by prioritising what you can pay first.
You could start by making extra repayments on your smallest debt first. Once you have paid that off, move on to the next smallest, and so on. If you start small, by the time you get to your biggest debts you will be well equipped to knock them out.
Another option is to pay off the debt with the highest interest first.
Financial counselling is a free service you can use if you need help sorting out your debts. Financial counsellors are independent and confidential.
If your debts are under control and you’ve built up some savings, 2020 could be the year to start investing.
Never invest in something you don’t fully understand; take the time to read up on the types of investment options you’re interested in. Follow the golden rules and invest smarter.
You might also consider reading money or investing magazines, or following finance and investing experts on social media.
It’s best to choose an investment based on how long you are prepared to have your money tied up. Growth assets like shares and property that usually have better long-term returns, can be more volatile in the short term. We have guidance to help you choose your investments.
Setting and reaching your money goals will help you achieve financial freedom. By putting a good plan in place and committing to keeping your money on the right course, you’ll hit your target.