A new year, a clean calendar, and a whole new batch of optimism.
That’s exactly where we are and we hope you are too. It’s time to make some financial resolutions for the new year.
Now let’s use that optimism to join millions of people in setting goals (or resolutions) this year. BUT in your planning this year we’d like you to also consider the potential missteps on your quest to achieve those goals.
One way to stay on track this year is to be aware of what might knock you OFF track.
The Cowboys (sorry, is our Texas showing?) could draft you as a receiver if all you had to do was stand near the quarterback and catch an easy toss. Catching the ball isn’t the hard part. It’s the 300-pound-man crashing into you as you try to hang on to that pass that’s the challenge.
Goal setting is similar. It’s important to give some thought to the potential obstacles that might try to take your feet out from under you. This year, take stock of “the oncoming defense” when you review your goals if you want to ensure your best year ever.
Almost every resolution set this year will be about money or health. They are the resolution “superstars” which indicate they are important areas for most people. And truth be told, our health and our wealth greatly affect every day of our lives and how able we are to help others.
Because Taylor and I prefer Chick-fil-a more than we do gym routines, let’s leave the health advice to the experts, shall we?
Before you can prosper from your newly minted financial resolutions, it’s wise to take a moment to consider the mistakes that can derail your progress. So before your blindside takes a blow from the hefty guy on the run, consider these 5 money mistakes that can derail your financial resolutions:
1. Failure to use technology.
If you’re not using technology to help you achieve your financial goals this year, you’re missing an easy win. Technology can help you “set it and forget it” when it comes to savings, donating, and checking in with your spouse on your goals.
There are lots of apps out there and most of them are free. One we really love is called Qapital. If you purchase something for $2.50 it will round up to $3 and take that difference and stick it in a savings account for you! The average savings is about $44 a month. If you do that for a full year you will have saved about $550, which could cover your whole Christmas budget, and it didn’t even hurt!
Apps like Honeydue and Honeyfi promote communication about spending decisions. Both allow you to sync credit cards and bank accounts to your dashboard, mark them as joint or individual, and share transactions, balances, or both with your spouse.
Put technology to work for you.
2. Ignore reality.
It can be tempting to not deal with your money because it feels too stressful or emotional. But head-in-the-sand money management will not help you reach your goals and it opens the door for ugly surprises.
Sit down with your spouse and start with the basics: What is your income? How much is in savings? What are your monthly expenses? How much debt do you have? Do you have an emergency cash account?
Get a clear picture so you can make some informed choices and set some goals to improve the areas that need help.
3. Fight, instead of communicating, about money.
You can’t escape money. We spend it every single day. Fueling our cars, filling our bellies, and on a huge list of other expenses.
With each decision, a potential misunderstanding or disagreement exists. But you can choose to communicate instead of fight about money. Anticipate the areas that push your buttons, identify those unhealthy patterns you fall into as a couple, and learn your Money Personalities. (Take our free, confidential assessment at TheMoneyCouple.com.)
Choose to discuss, not fuss about money this year.
4. Never plan a money meeting.
We know, it doesn’t sound like a blast. But fighting or worrying about money isn’t a picnic either. So why not set aside some time on the calendar to have regular, quarterly, or monthly (recommended) meetings.
Keep the tone positive and work together. Two rowers in a boat will always beat the solo rower in a race.
Take 45 minutes and look at your facts. Then share with your spouse what your family needs are. What season is coming up? In summer do you spend more? Is it Christmas and you have more spending needs?
Finally, discuss your dreams! What good are the riches God gives us if we can’t dream about the blessings they provide?
Find a new restaurant, hit a cozy coffee shop, or hunker down at the kitchen table, but be more intentional about your money this year.
5. Forget what matters most.
If you hear nothing else, keep your money in the correct perspective.
Your money management strategy is off the rails if you forget the role money has in our lives. It is not the most important thing. And it never will be. Your relationships matter far more than any paycheck ever will.
“No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 CSB
God knew we’d struggle with greed and money. That’s why there are over 2,000 verses in the Bible dealing with it.
Don’t forget what matters most in your life. Money can be lost and more can be earned, but relationships are eternal and priceless.
Don’t let money mistakes derail your plans for making the best of this year God has given us.
Taylor and Megan Kovar
The Money Couple