Want that Goal? Identify Your Obstacles

The beginning of a new year is a time when you think about goals.  What do I want to be different about this year? better health?  better work relationships?  better money management, etc.  In order to reach your goal you need to identify your obstacles first.  Put those obstacles in writing.  Post them on your refrigerator.  If you don’t anticipate these things, they will throw a hurdle up in blocking your achievement of the goal.  Since this is a personal finance blog, I’ll use a financial example.

Goal: To completely fund my $500.00 emergency fund by June 30, 2009. 

What obstacles could get in the way of attaining this goal?

1) Not knowing where my money is going;  2) Not doing the math to see how much I need to set aside to reach the goal;  3) Not bothering to designate a place for the money to go;  4) Not having a budget in writing to make sure the money is designated for saving every paycheck.

We are busy people.  There are opportunities to do a lot of other things than pursue a savings goal.  For some folks, even creating a budget can be an overwhelming task.  Our society throws buying opportunites in our faces in all kinds of ways.  It takes discipline to stick to a financial plan.  Let’s get back to these obstacles. Let’s take them apart one by one.

Obstacle 1: Not knowing where my money is going.  Answer:  Begin a budget.  A budget is a written description of where every dollar goes from your paycheck. Each expense is recorded there.  Extra nugget: Don’t forget to budget those lattes and mochas.   

Obstacle 2: Not doing the math to know how much to set aside each paycheck.  Answer: Do the math:  If you get paid biweekly (every other Friday), you will have 12 paychecks between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2009.  Divide your goal (500) by 12: 500/12 = $41.66 per paycheck. 

Obstacle 3: Not designating a place for the money to go.  As I mentioned in an earlier post (Emergency fund), an online savings account such as www.ingdirect.com is an excellent place for this money to go.  Having it somewhere separate from your checking account removes the opportunity to use it for other purposes.

Obstacle 4: Not having a budget in writing.  Answer:  Get a budget completed ASAP.  You can use a spreadsheet from your computer, a blank sheet of notebook paper, or a computer software program like Microsoft Money or Quicken.  Just get all your expenses (including Savings) on there. 

Oftentimes not identifying obstacles will hinder our efforts to reach important goals.  What goal do you want to achieve this year?  Make time (this is big) to write those obstacles down today and have a plan to remove them one by one!  Have a great year!  Please do contact me when you reach that goal.  We’ll celebrate together!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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