It’s that time of year again — time to make sincere resolutions that, all too often, we can’t or don’t keep. If you are considering a finance-related resolution, here’s how to make it stick.
First, and most importantly, be selective. Identify the one issue you most want to fix. Possibilities:
- Figuring out how much you’ll need to retire
- Improving how your money is invested
- Reducing your tax bill
Second, make a plan to solve the problem. If the solution is complex, find an adviser you trust.
Third, commit to a specific 2015 goal. If the problem will take more than a year to fix — and the big ones usually do — pick a target that represents meaningful progress. As the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu famously said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Fourth, when the date comes, hold yourself or your adviser accountable.
This doesn’t sound like rocket science, but success isn’t easy. That’s because finance typically ends us somewhere between a root canal and cleaning the basement on your to-do list. The good news: it’s less painful than a root canal and more rewarding than cleaning. With effort, you can make real progress.
Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy 2015. No doubt we’ll see each other in the gym!