At the end of 2015, I started evaluating a lot of things in my life and where I wanted to be in my future. At the time I had only been out of college for about a year and started noticing a lot of my friends making serious progress in their careers, at least, it seemed that way. Admittedly, I was insecure; I was in a career that I enjoyed, but was not thrilled about. At the time I was making okay money, not great, but at least I could do some fun stuff if I wanted to. After a while, I started to notice that I was living a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle (like top ramen till payday kind of thing), so I decided to make a change and get some help.
Time to save…
I sought the advice of a financial advisor to figure out how the heck to take care for my money better. After a few sessions with him, I set up a retirement plan and felt pretty good about it. Yet, I was still living paycheck to paycheck with no actual change, just a little bit of awareness.
It was January 2016 and like everyone else, I was determined that the New Year would be a new me (cliché I know). I stumbled across a webinar about setting goals, so I gave it a listen and walked away with some great tips on accomplishing goals. With the tools I received, I put together some financial goals for myself. Here is what they looked like:
1. Eliminate at least $1,000 of credit card debt by July 23rd
a. Make a minimum payment of $100 per month
b. NO use of credit card
c. Set up automatic payment plan
d. Always ask yourself, “Do I really need that?”
2. Save at least $1,000 for an emergency fund by July 23rd
a. PAY SELF FIRST
b. Only spend emergency fund if it is an actual EMERGENCY, if before July 23rd.
c. Set aside an allowance of “FUN” money for spending.
d. Always ask yourself, “Is this really an emergency?”
3. USE DEBT AND CREDIT CARD LESS
a. Carry cash more.
b. Every pay period pull out at least $100 of cash.
These are pretty bold goals to be honest, and when I wrote them, I should have been more realistic about my spending habits. The truth is I just lost focus throughout the year and didn’t end up where I wanted (which is okay, I am still getting used to this). However, I am beginning to understand that although I am young, I have an opportunity to develop healthy habits, so why not develop good ones now.
This year, I planned more doable goals for myself and I am more disciplined with the way I spend money. Money is one of the leading causes of divorce, the US has trillions dollars of debt, and college students are graduating with more debt now than ever before. This does not have to be our portion, nor are we called to have money rule our lives.
Wait, so what now?
Now, you probably need to go and evaluate your finances. Ask God why this is important. Think of a few areas where you can grow when it comes to finances, and finally, fill out your goal guide! We have provided some great resources to get you started, and writing your goals down is the first step to accomplishing your goals this year.
My goal is debt free by the time I am 30. Crazy, I know, but I got things to do and I am not letting finances hold me back. What is your crazy financial dream? Write it down and remind yourself everyday why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Jonathan grew up in Chula Vista, California up until he was 15 years old. He then moved to a small town in the High Desert called Barstow where he spent his high school years. He graduated with a degree in History/Political Science from Vanguard University in 2014. He is currently working as a Resident Coordinator at Vanguard, while he is completing his Master's degree in Organizational Psychology.