We had three items on our agenda this month:
1. To look back at our money beliefs and behaviors and decide if they are serving us or not. If not, determine how and why to change them.
2. Create SMART goals; goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
3. Choose a reward for achieving our stated goals.
Some of us had identified an issue about spending money only on practical – rather than joyful – items.
One person shared that they were having trouble saving for retirement because of their young age; it isn’t a priority.
I, personally, struggle with the idea of being financially successful and if that would mean having to change my lifestyle (I don’t want to). So, I am giving myself a permission slip (feel free to use it) to continue living according to my values and no one else’s.
Studies show that the keys to achieving your goals lies in a few simple – but crucial steps: Be specific, write it/them down, and tell someone else. The key to the last part is finding the right person with whom to share your goals. Many people can be negative, thinking they’re helping by giving you a dose of reality. But as a friend’s key chain says, “Why let reality wreck your day?” One person in attendance had an “Aha!” moment when she realized that she had not achieved her goals in the past because she wasn’t specific; she was too vague. When you specify what you wish to achieve, you make a mental commitment that nags at you (in a good way) to stay on track. Simply saying, “I’m going to save more,” doesn’t work, you must specify how much you plan to save per week, month, year etc.
Achieving your goals is also about behavioral changes. We must be ready, willing and able to change. Financial matters are only one aspect of our lives and they can be affected by the other aspects of our lives, not the least of which include our relationships. Identifying obstacles to achieving your goals is a helpful step because maybe you can “head it off at the pass.”
Which brought us to the next topic: How to manage the bills in a two-income household. Who pays what? What if the two people make very different incomes, one much greater than the other? Unfortunately, as much as I am asked this question, I don’t have any concrete answers except to say that it is important to find a system that respects both individuals and that both view as fair. I’ve seen all kinds of agreements between spouses and significant others ranging from one spouse paying for everything (the other spouse’s income is spent however s/he wishes) to everything being split down the middle. The key is finding what works, and that will be different for everyone.
Photos courtesy of ClipArt.