Most Americans will make a concerted effort to reduce debt and get a handle on their finances in 2018. Why is it, then, that the overwhelming majority of us will not succeed? I don’t believe lack of desire is the culprit. Unfortunately, though, merely wishing, hoping, or wanting is not enough. Based on my work with more than 10,000 clients, I have identified the following strategies and behaviors that yield BIG financial results:
Enlist Social support. Take a cue from the top corporations which routinely deploy groups of two or more to problem solve and achieve goals. We are social creatures whose energy and creativity are boosted by working collaboratively. Brainstorming with your partner or children on sealing the household ‘money leaks’ is way more effective than a plaintive solo call to ‘save money’. Should we reduce newspaper or magazine subscriptions? Cancel underutilized gym memberships? Eat less take-out food? We are all more likely to ‘buy in’ to goals that we have helped develop.
Put your goals in Writing. The act of writing is said to stimulate reticular activating systems which trigger your brain to pay closer attention and focus more effectively. At the end of each day, make a short list of your money victories and challenges.
Create Accountability. Take a cue from weight loss programs with a weekly weigh in. Schedule a weekly financial progress evaluation during which all team members report on their spending battles and triumphs.
Remember that Progress, not perfection, is our ultimate destination. Resist the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Just because I gave in to temptation and bought a $5 coffee, does not mean that I should be so discouraged that I throw in the towel. Recognize in advance that there will be moments of weakness. Rather than focusing on the mistake, look ahead to making the next ‘correct money decision’.
There is an old saying that ‘When money is a problem, EVERYTHING is a problem’. Conversely, I have observed that when people gain control over their financial lives, they are empowered to tackle other challenging areas. By implementing a few simple strategies, I believe that 2018 can truly be a transformative year.
Ann Margaret Carrozza @mylawyerann is a renowned Asset Protection Attorney who served for 14 years as a New York State Assemblywoman. She is a TV legal contributor and the author of Love & Money, Protecting Yourself from Angry Exes, Wacky Relatives, Con Artists and Inner Demons. www.mylawyerann.com