Ever made a New Year Resolution and not kept to it? If the answer is yes never mind because you are in the vast majority of people according to this survey.
It was discovered that 80% of New Year Resolutions fail. Yes 80%. You read that right. Staggering isn’t it?
The good news is that 20% of New Year Resolutions that were made were successfully achieved. So the question is how did they do it? Well, the answer is quite simple. You have to make your New Year’s resolution a daily habit and part of your routine like brushing your teeth.
According to Mindpath Health’s Kiana Shelton it takes 30-60 days to change a habit.
Apparently, it is all down to the brain because the brain doesn’t distinguish between good and bad habits.
Interestingly it is easier to change physical habits than mental ones which is relevant because this blog is focused on your financial habits which are mental rather than physical.
What I have learned over the years is that it is important to use visualisation. Visualise what your life will look like after you have achieved your financial goal, for example, a new house, new car, holiday, gifts to your family or charity. Write down your financial goals, repeat them out loud daily to yourself and read your list three times daily. Remember what you focus on, you attract.
If you want to fulfill a financial New Year’s resolution then it is best to set yourself a financial target such as saving 10% of what you earn. This can be easily achieved if you set up a direct debit to save the money the same date each month ideally immediately after your pay day. So if you are paid on the last day of the month set up your savings plan direct debit for the first of the month i.e. one day after you are paid.
Once you have set up your monthly savings plan the next step is to avoid making withdrawals from that pot of money until your target has been achieved. How do you do that? Well, what I have found works well is if there is some kind of penalty to withdraw the money early. The penalty could be an early encashment charge by the provider or a tax charge by HMRC. Another way to keep you on track is to have a plan that is inaccessible for a number of years such as a pension if you are not yet of pension age.
Of course, the ideal scenario is to have a savings plan with no penalties that is 100% accessible at all times. This is where the maximum self-discipline is required so that you are not tempted to encash any of your savings.
It goes without saying that if you are going to have a target of saving 10% of what you earn then you should resolve to stick to that plan come what may. You know it makes sense.*
The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. The information contained within this article is for guidance only and does not constitute advice which should be sought before taking any action or inaction. All information is based on our current understanding of taxation, legislation, regulations and case law in the current tax year. Any levels and bases of relief from taxation are subject to change. Tax treatment is based on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. This blog is based on my own observations and opinions.