Five tips to get you on target in 2017

What did you accomplish in 2016? Did you achieve all that you set out to do?

Perhaps you did not meet the financial and lifestyle goals you set yourself.

So what can you do in 2017 to make sure you reach your targets? Here are five tips from Andrew Zbik, senior financial planner, Omniwealth, to get you off to a good start:

1. Write down your list of achievements for 2016

Many people find goal setting daunting. I suggest writing down all of your achievements for this year: receiving a pay rise, laying down new carpet in the bedrooms, going on a long-awaited holiday, teaching your child to play tennis, spending more time with your spouse over coffee/tea with no TV and so on.

Write down every goal whether it be financial, lifestyle and relational because it puts into perspective that you have achieved more than you may initially recall. The positive mindset this creates can then help with setting new goals or tweaking old ones.

2.  Set some financial goals and seek professional advice

Approximately 20 per cent of Australians seek financial advice.[1] A fee-for-service strategy focused financial planner can help to set realistic and achievable financial goals. There is an absolute correlation between those who write down their goals and have success in achieving them. It is good to break down your goals into short-term (from now to two years), medium-term (three to five years) and long-term (more than six years).

3. Put in place a real savings plan and not a surplus plan

Nearly half (47 per cent) of Australians wish that they saved more.[2] Most Australian’s manage their cash flow like this: a) earn an income b) buy the things you need c) buy the things you want d) if you are lucky, there is some cash left over to put into savings.

This is not “savings” though, this is merely a surplus after needs and wants are satisfied. Be deliberate with your savings. Set a budget of how much of each pay day you will deliberately save and siphon this money off to a separate account. It may be $50, $200, $500 of each pay that is deliberately put aside.

Then spend the remaining money on the things you need and want. However, ensure you have a small surplus left to give you some wriggle room with your cash flow. Deliberate savings will achieve real savings results.

4. Know what your next investment will be

Almost a third (27 per cent) of Aussies said that they did not invest as much as they had hoped to in 2016.[3] I find that when people know what their next investment purchase can be, it will incentivise them to save more to make the purchase of that investment happen. Understanding what deposit you need for an investment property or how much you wish to add to your share/bond portfolio is a good way to be deliberate with your savings and investing.

5. Find someone else to be accountable to

There is a problem with setting goals if no one else knows about them. If you don’t achieve them then there is no one to answer to but yourself. Having a mentor or adviser can be the difference between achieving your goals or not.

Accountability is best when you can meet face-to-face with someone to review your goals. A good adviser will pre-book their next face-to-face review with their clients six months in advance. If your mentor or adviser does not schedule a time to meet with you in advance, find a new one!

[1] ASIC/EY Sweeny “Australian Financial Attitudes and Behaviour Tracker. Wave 4: Sept 2015 to Feb 2016” (ASIC Report 481)

[2] [3] FPA/McCrindle “Dare to Dream: Research into Australia’s financial hopes and fears”, August 2016