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HAPPY NEW Year everyone, if you are anything like me you are just getting over Christmas and wondering how you are going to keep yourself on the straight and narrow with your New Year’s Resolution.
What is yours this year? Lose weight, change something about your life, improve your finances? Well, if it is the latter, you are not alone, as there are many of us who are looking to do that after last year’s topsy-turvey markets.
The thing is, it is vital – no matter what your resolution – to give yourself some goals to achieve along the way, as it will make it easier to stay on track for more than the first month. They need to be smaller to start with, like stepping stones that will help you to reach your ultimate goal, whatever that may be.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to save yourself $1,200 over the coming year. Sounds pretty unmanageable to most of us, so let’s break it down. That means keeping an extra $100 a month of your salary. Yep, still pretty steep, right? Well, hang on though, that actually works out to $25 a week, which is just over $3.50 a day. With a few basic tweaks to your lifestyle, that is manageable.
Of course, if you are looking to get your money working for you and generating more in returns, then you may not want to set a financial goal to achieve in such a short term, as returns can be more difficult to generate and judge on the same month-by-month basis.
Instead, you may want to consider setting yourself a goal of checking how your portfolio is performing every six months, or even three months if you are keen. Ironically, checking this too regularly can cause you to make changes that, ultimately, may make you worse off depending on market conditions.
You may be more sensible to say you want to achieve a set amount in returns over three or five years, and then work towards that over a longer period of time. But you would still need intermediate goals to ensure you get there. This time though, you would need to check that your portfolio is on course to achieve, or hopefully exceed, your expectations over that time. Your adviser should be able to work with you to outline what these intermediate goals might reasonably be.
Resolutions are hard to keep, there is no doubt about it. But if you want to be wealthier this time next year, then you need to put the building blocks in place to achieve it now, and keep working towards them throughout the year, no matter whether you are saving or growing your money. To maximise your returns, you could try to do a bit of both.
First published in Asia Life
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