Get financially prepared for 2016

As we farewell another year, many of us will be looking forward to a well deserved break over the festive season. During the down time, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what you want to achieve financially in 2016.

Here is how you can prepare before the hustle and bustle of the new year begins.

Reflect on the year that was

Before you set your new goals, it’s important to evaluate how you progressed in 2015. What were your financial goals for the past 12 months? Spend some time thinking about what you achieved; consider what went well and what didn’t go so well.

Did you adjust your goals throughout the year? Look at what unexpected things happened and how they impacted on your success - both positive and negative.

Once you’re clear on the status of your 2015 goals, it should become easier to see what direction you need to take in the next 12 months.

Be specific in your goal setting

Setting a goal that’s vague such as “save money” or seemingly unconquerable like “pay off debt” is probably not going to be all that successful.

When you’re setting your goals for the year, you’re much more likely to achieve them if you identify specific things to work towards. For example, instead of “save money”, a more specific goal would be: save an additional $5,000 by November to pay for Christmas and a family getaway during the school holidays.

As you write down your 2016 goals make note of these three things:

  • Identify how you can measure your progress and subsequent success;
  • Consider how realistic the goal is;
  • Set yourself deadlines. If you have multiple goals you might stage them out into three, six and 12 month timeframes.

Review throughout the year

Don’t wait another 12 months to reflect on what you’ve achieved and what went wrong. Every quarter take some time to review your progress; re-run your calculations based on how you’re tracking and adjust your expectations where needed so that your goals remain realistic and achievable.