In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we’re urging consumers to make a pledge to save. We’ve learned that taking positive action to achieve your goals is much more effective than passively hoping for success.
By breaking down your plan into concrete steps, you’ll always know if you are on the right track.
- Make the commitment. Whether you use our site, a day planner, or write your goals in journal, you need to start by taking the concrete step of making a pledge. It’s not enough to daydream about what you’d like to achieve; you have to know specifically what you want, and you have to want it badly enough that you are ready to take the pledge.
- Consider going public. If you’re comfortable sharing some information about your financial goal, it can be a great motivator to let friends and family know you’ve taken the pledge to save. If you use Facebook or Twitter to declare your intent to save, you might be surprised at the advice and encouragement you’ll get.
- Write down the goal. Having one’s goals written down in clear, specific language is a tremendously important trigger that sets you down to the path to success.
- Make a plan. Figure out what steps you’ll need to get from making your goal to successfully completing it. The more carefully thought out your goal is, the easier it will be to plan to achieve it.
- Create a timeline. Part of your goal should be some idea of when you expect to succeed. This end-date might change along the way, but you should start with a date in mind. Once you know the basic timeline, set regular dates to review and track your progress. Speaking of which…
- Check your progress. Your goal itself should be concrete and immutable. That’s one of the reasons you must write it down. But your process toward achieving it must have some flexibility. If unplanned expenses or an emergency comes up, you need to make adjustments so you can still reach your end goal. If your process is inflexible, then and bump in the road you hit along the way can cause you to fail. You also need to check your progress to make sure you’re on track when things are going well. Even if you haven’t had any financial setbacks, you still might not be saving enough to reach your goal. Check your progress regularly so you can make the right adjustments to your plan to ensure success.
Your specific goals, and therefore your plan, will be unique to you. Use these steps to make sure the plan you create will succeed in helping you achieve your pledge.