Kath Wilkinson looks at how to resolve your finances for 2020
One of the time-honoured traditions of the start of a new year is to make some resolutions, to set yourself some goals of the things that you’d like to achieve in the year ahead.
Making resolutions is easy, but sticking to them is not. We start the year motivated and full of good intentions, but once we slip back into our day-to-day routines, it’s difficult to keep sight of the reasons we made the resolutions in the first place.
There are particular aspects for the LGBT Community in that many of us don’t have the traditional life-cycle to ‘force’ a focus on setting clear goals.One tactic to help you keep on track in delivering on your New Year’s resolutions is to set some measures against them so that you can track and monitor your progress as the weeks go by. For some goals, Financial Measures can be a really practical way of determining whether you’re making progress towards your goals and we’ll take a look at how to set yourself some financial targets to help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions.
Drink less alcohol/coffee or smoking?
With the 'excesses’ of Christmas and New Year’s Eve behind you, the start of the year is a great time to get motivated about reducing your alcohol intake. “Drink less” is a classic New Year’s resolution, but unless you set yourself some targets it’s really difficult to ensure that you deliver on the commitments that you’re making to yourself.A good way to adjust your future behaviour is to look back at your past behaviour.
Take a look at your bank statement or credit card, and have a look at how much you typically spend on alcohol in a month. Put December to one side, as it’s generally a bit ‘distorted’, but take a look at November or October. Did you spend £50 on alcohol? £150? £250?Set yourself a realistic target. Could you reduce that spend by £25 each month? That might be two cocktails less - or perhaps one less bottle of wine – or it might mean opting for a pint instead of a spirit. If you could save £25 each month that would amount to £300 over the year.
Set up a designated Alcohol Savings account.
At the end of each month, look at the your bank account or credit card and add up how much you spent on alcohol/coffee/smoking? Did you hit your target? Transfer the amount that you saved into your savings account. Start planning what you’ll do with the £300 that you’ll have saved by the end of the year.Invest for the futureOne of the most common resolutions that we all make is to start the year with good intentions of sorting out our finances: 'this is the year when we’re going to pay down our debts, boost our savings, or invest in our longer term future’.
Good intentions are a great place to start, but you have to take some concrete steps to actually be doing something about it.For LGBTs this can be particularly important as we very often don’t have the same Life-Cycle and Goals as the straight community, and as such, the need to plan for the future may be 'ignored’ or delayed.Make your resolutions concrete and specific. For Financial Goals, they could perhaps play out like this:
• Make an appointment to see a financial planner by the end of January
• Agree a financial plan by the end of February, to include short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial goals
• At the end of August, review the progress that I’ve made in working towards the goals set in my financial plan
• By the end of December, ensure that I have a date booked in for an annual review and update of my financial plan
Equality Wealth is a specialist focussed on LGBT financial planning, and they can help find a financial adviser near you who will understand your specific needs.In Manchester and the North West, they work with Kath Wilkinson who is a Specialist in financial advice for the LGBT Community. You can arrange a free consultation with Kath via link below.
Find a Resolutions buddyWhatever resolutions you’re making this year, whether finance-related or not, get some help in sticking to them. Talk to a friend or family member and share your resolutions with each other
Agree to help motivate and support each other as you work towards your resolutions.Schedule a monthly catch-up so that you can compare notes and progress and make any adjustments required as the year unfolds.
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of the year and feeling like you haven’t made any progress on getting to where you want to be - and making resolutions that you can stick to is a great place to start!Read More