Set Financial Goals for the New Year

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Once Thanksgiving and Christmas are near, we realize that another year has come and gone. As we look back, we realize that there were many things that we wanted to accomplish in 2009, yet they somehow did not come to fruition.

For many of us, life just gets in the way. With spouses, children, work, and home, there is never a shortage of
things to do. It becomes easy to put off our goals until "tomorrow." For example, many of us put off making sure we have enough life insurance coverage, even though we would not want to leave our families in a financial bind.

The unfortunate part of procrastination is that "tomorrow" never comes. Our goals just get pushed back so far that we tend to forget they were there in the first place.

But today is a new day. There's nothing wrong with getting a fresh start now. Let's look at some questions that will trigger some ideas and help us get back on track.

Where do you want to be?

While the Bible tells us to be content with where we are, we are still encouraged to examine ourselves to determine how we can become better stewards of our resources.

We should use this time to think big. We can spend time in prayer with God and ask Him to show us where He would like us to be one year from now.

We can also seek His guidance to show us where He would like us to be five or even 10 years from now. The decisions we make today will greatly impact our future. Seeking God is critical to ensuring that we make the appropriate decisions now for a better outcome later on.

Take time to consider three to five financial goals that you would like to accomplish in the near future. These goals can include debt payoff, such as credit cards or car loans. We can also consider planning for new big-ticket purchases rather than financing them.

Where are you now?

Before we can think about getting to where we want to be, we have to have a clear understanding of where we are now. Surprisingly, many of us do not truly know where we are. We spend so much time living in the moment that we don't see how today impacts the future.

In order to work toward improvement, we really need to create a snapshot of our current financial situation. We should review our cash flow - our income and expenses. We should also get a clear picture of our outstanding debts. This will help us get a better idea of our starting position for working toward our goals.

How will you get there?

Getting to our goals requires planning. We need to determine financially what it will take to get to each goal.
Then, we should determine how much we need to set aside in our monthly budget to get to our goal.

This might not be an easy process. It is most likely that we will need to make some changes in our spending habits to reach these goals. However, if we prioritize and use discipline, it can work.

We are not promised tomorrow. As we head into the new year, let's make an effort to eliminate procrastination and reach some of the goals that mean so much to us.

About the Author:

Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and the author of Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to Managing Your Finances. After working for a top financial services firm, she shifted her focus to teaching and speaking to groups and organizations working to increase financial literacy in the U.S. She earned 3 Bachelor's degrees at Fresno State and an MBA at UCLA's Anderson School. Find her at http://www.thechristianmoneycoach.com .

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