The power of setting goals in January is that you have a whole year ahead of you. Here are our Top 10 money goals for the new year.
Money Bite Sized – Minute Read:
Setting money goals for a new year means that you have a whole year to reshape your finances.
We’ve shortlisted our Top 10 goals for 2020 to help suggest money goals for you to kick.
This could include building an emergency fund to deal with life’s emergencies and automating your savings to end the year with more money in the bank.
You could aim for more control in your life by tackling debt, making a budget or having a no spend day to control your spending.
We also love the idea of investing in future you and your health, your retirement fund and investments.
Take inspiration from Neil Gaiman: Imagine your goal as a mountain so that when you need to make a decision, you can make choices based on whether they take you towards or away from the mountain.
As we usher in a New Year, it’s an opportunity to set goals for what you want to achieve in 2020. And tackling money and finances is a goal that many of us will have in mind.
Money goals can help you start next year with more financial freedom.
The new year gives you time to make new goals. Rather than setting resolutions that you’ll keep for a week (edit: see my January gym membership), use this time to set meaningful money goals for the year ahead that you’ll actually stick with.
- Why set financial goals? It means that you have a clear vision for 2020 and what you want to achieve this coming year.
- Why is 2020 special? 2020 is a leap year so you now have 366 days ahead of you to kickstart better money habits.
- Why is this a good time to set money goals? A new year means that you have a whole year to reshape your finances. Whether it’s starting 2021 with an extra $10,000 in your pocket or no longer having to worry about money, setting goals means you can maximise your time in 2020 to put your future-self in a better financial position.
Ready to get started?
Here are the Top 10 money goals to kickstart your finances in 2020:
1. Build an emergency fund
Life emergencies happen. Washing machines break, people get sick and can’t work, cars break down at random. How you react to life emergencies can depend on whether you have an emergency fund.
An emergency fund is the cash you keep for emergencies and it’s clear why you need one. However, 22% of Australians don’t have any savings, which causes financial stress in an emergency. If you want to enjoy more security when it comes to your money, building your emergency fund is a great money goal for 2020.
2. Automate your savings
If you want to start saving money, you need to ensure that you’re not going to be tempted to spend money intended for savings. I’ve taken the guesswork out of it by automating my savings.
I did this by setting up a separate savings account that I couldn’t see every day. I then set up an automatic payment so that some of my salary when to that account. That money then adds up over time, automating your savings or help build an emergency fund.
Over time, automating savings can have a huge impact. If you save $100 a week, this adds up to $5,200 saved in one year. Automating your savings is a great money goal to help you gain more financial freedom this year.
3. Take control of your debt
Whether it’s credit card debt or overusing buy now pay later services, too many of us are being weighed down by debt. I say weighed down because that’s literally what it feels like. Debt is an obligation that our past-selves took on but that our future selves will have to pay off.
In 2020, set your future-self up to enjoy more freedom by taking control of debt. Add up how much you owe and work out how much you can start paying back each week, fortnight or month. Look at how you can make extra money and direct this towards your debt.
Money is most powerful when we use it as a tool to make choices we want and to ensure our safety, security, or freedom. Give your future-self that choice and take control of your debt in 2020.
4. Make a budget
The best way to control your money is to know exactly where it’s going. A budget means not only knowing where your money is going but also planning where you want your money to go so you’re not leaving it to chance. People who say you don’t need a budget are incredibly lucky – they’re also incredibly privileged if they don’t need to plan where their money goes.
You don’t need to obsess over a complicated spreadsheet. You just need to get a clear picture of where your money is going so that you can use the money you have to satisfy your needs, indulge in what you want, and save towards long term goals. We can show you how to budget in just 10 minutes to help you get started with this money goal.
5. Have a no spend day
It’s becoming easier to just tap your card and spend money without thinking about it. This kind of spending on non-essentials can really add up.
A no spend day means not spending money on non-essentials for one day. The process forces you to think before you spend money so that you become more mindful about your spending. If you want more discipline and control over your spending, try having a no spend day to reset your spending habits.
6. Take advantage of your work benefits
When it comes to our work benefits, many of us leave money on the table. Workplaces offer different benefits which could include subsidies for gym memberships, free dinners if you need to work late or salary packaging to save money on car repayments. These benefits are part of your employment contract and are in addition to your salary.
Learn from my mistake on this: I was asked to work late at the office for months and never claimed the dinner allowance because I didn’t know I was entitled to it. Look over your benefits and ensure that you are using them when you can.
7. Start investing now
When you see the word investing, the Wolf of Wall Street might spring to mind. However, it’s not just Gordon Gecko who can benefit from investing. When done in a sustainable way, investing means that your money increases over time thanks to compound interest.
Compound interest is similar to a snowball rolling down a mountain. The snowball picks up more snow as it rolls down so that the snowball gets bigger over time. Investing isn’t risk-free which is why I would encourage you to first set up an emergency fund and ensure that you’re investing money within your budget. Money is a tool for us to make a difference, both in our own lives and to the world around us, and investing to increase your wealth can be a great way to do that. That’s why I started investing.
8. Sort out your Super
Super is an investment in your future self. For non-Australian readers, super or superannuation is the Australian equivalent of a retirement fund or what you’ll have to draw on when you choose to stop working. But super is one of those things that we love to put off because it’s a future you problem.
Whether you retire into acrylic or cashmere is up to you. But the sooner you take action to sort out your super, the sooner your future is taken care of. And you could start taking action on this money goal to sort out your super in just 15 minutes.
9. Invest in your health
It’s all too easy to put off health decisions until later. Unfortunately, this can lead to health issues not being addressed until they become an emergency.
2020 is the year that changes. A yearly check-up at the doctor or dentist will pick up issues when they’re still manageable and you can fix them yourself.
Taking action on health issues now means saving money on future medical bills. Investing in your health can be one of the smartest decisions you make and is a money goal that will pay off for years to come. If you only had one car in life, you’d look You only have one body in life so take care of it.
10. Learn about money
We all learn in different ways. I learned more about personal finance by reading as much as I could, listening to finance podcasts, and immersing myself in finance content. I now regularly get asked what books I would recommend to those wanting to learn more about money about I’ve listed these books in the Financial Literacy Hub.
We’ll also be launching a podcast soon that showcases conversations around money to include more people in this conversation. Money affects us all but half of Australia doesn’t talk about money despite us all spending, earning and using money in our everyday lives. Defy the stereotype and start learning more about money in 2020.
“When I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain”
Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors and I love his approach to decision making, quoted above. Imagine your money goal as a mountain. When you need to make a decision, you can make choices based on whether they take you towards or away from the mountain. Apply that discipline to your money goals to help put yourself in a better position next year.
Read more at: 7 lessons I learned about money in 2019