How to Get Back on Track and Hit Your Money Goals for 2020

Has 2020 thrown you off your FI course? Today we’re going to tackle how you can get back on and knock out a goal before the year is over!

Knocking Out a Money Goal Before the Year Wraps Up

I’m going to take a guess and say that 2020 has not gone the way you thought it would back at the beginning of the year.

Looking at the first half of the season, you probably remember that we started off the year with some big purchases when we had to replace my husband's car into we did a kitchen update.

Now, both of these purchases were planned. For instance, we saved up for it. We didn't incur any debt. But just a couple weeks after we finished the major parts of the kitchen, things were shutting down.

Because there were so many things up in the air and a lot of uncertainty, we've made adjustments, definitely got more conservative when it came to any more spending.

We also got a little more cautious with our other goals for the year and put a pause on them until we had a better idea of what's going on.

From what I'm seeing and hearing from you, you're kind of in the same boat.

You had a goal that you were looking forward to knocking out this year. But when the pandemic hit, you kind of put pause and you might feel like you've just lost your footing a bit and you're trying to get things back in order.

But with August being almost done, is it too late? Well, the good news is there are 18 weeks left in the year

So if you want to make the most out of this time, then I think you’ll enjoy today’s show. 

In this episode, we’ll get into:

  • How to get back on n the horse and restart paying down your debts or saving for a specific goal
  • Rethinking your investing strategy
  • Incorporating more giving into your regular financial routine

Let’s get started! 

Handy Tools to Reset and Get Back on Your FI Journey

If you’re looking to get ahead with your finances as a family and look at pursuing financial independence, here are some resources to check out:

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union!

If you live in the Triangle area of North Carolina and you’d like someone to work with you on your goals, you really want to check out Coastal’s Wealth Management team.

They’d love to help you start investing for retirement and more!

Restarting Paying Down Debt or Saving Up for a Goal

If you’re looking to finish off this year with a win, specifically with paying down debt or saving up, you need to create a system. 

  1. Define your goal. Sounds obvious, but this step gets skipped or gloss over. Think about how often people at the beginning of the year have high hopes of ‘paying off debt' or ‘saving more'. But they don't get there. Why? One reason is that they're not making their goals SMART. You need to get specific. How much and when you want to wrap this up? 
  2. Visualize the WHY behind your goal. Let’s be honest, this money you’re going to be putting towards your debt or savings has to come from somewhere. To push through those times where you have to say no to certain things or work side gig for a bit, many families find it helpful to have a picture or some reminder of the purpose behind the goal.  Let’s say you pay off your credit cards, that monthly amount that you’re sending in for your cards. What are you going to be able to do? Looking to save for a down payment for a house? What kind of house would you love to get?  
  3. Work backward. Break down and create a plan for how much you need each paycheck to put towards that goal. Let’s say you have a $1,500 credit card you want to tackle before the end of December. You’re looking at $375/month or $83.33/week. 
  4. Make it easy to see your numbers. You can go with an app like Personal Capital, You Need  Budget, or Mint, spreadsheets like Tiller, or even a pen and paper. I’m not too specific on the method you prefer, but you do need something you can check quickly to track your progress and any setbacks. 
  5. Mind the gap. If there is a gap between what you need and what you currently have to put in, 
  6. Automate your payments and transfers. We received further proof this year that automating much of our money was the way to go. With so much uncertainty, especially in March and April, the stress could’ve clouded our judgment and make some poor yet understandable decisions like taking money out of our portfolio. However because we have a system set up to move the money towards bills, savings, and investing, we were pretty much able to stay on target for the year. 

So if you’re ready to tackle either paying off debt or socking away money, I hope these tips make the process easier! 

Rethinking Your Investment Strategy

If you’ve opened an IRA, brokerage account, or signed up for a 401(k) or similar plan at work, you’ve probably seen a questionnaire or some material about discovering your risk assessment. 

Knowing how much risk you’re comfortable with gives you a better idea of what type investments would fit you and your goals. 

The problem is it is one thing to fill out and a form and it’s another to actually go through a volatile year like we’ve had so far. 

I’ve mentioned a few episodes ago that back in March, the S&P dropped more than 30%. That’s enough for some to wonder if it’s better to pull out money and wait, but trying to time the market is a losing proposition. 

But let’s say you didn’t pull the money, but you paused any contributions. Maybe you wanted to shore up your savings. 

Understandable.

Now, though, you have your cushion, but you're just a bit skittish with getting back into investing. 

What do you do?

A  few weeks ago we discussed investing in a volatile market, but a key step I would recommend is identifying what specifically you are stressed about

Credit: Carl Richards
  1. Loss of Confidence with Investing: You can regain some confidence by looking over historical returns of the stock market and focus on the investing fundamentals – diversify your investments, rebalancing, and making regular contributions.
  2. Noise of the News: You feel like you have to do something. Unfortunately, when you let emotions, you can start deviating from your investment plan and actually start harming yourself financially.
  3. Review your investment plan. This year could have shown you that it isn’t right for you.

Of course, you can always chat with me and the community over at Thriving Families on Facebook. We love to encourage and swap ideas with one another.

If you're in the position, please also consider sitting down with a certified financial planner who’s a fiduciary (meaning they are legally obligated to put your financial interest first) to review your overall financial health and craft an investment plan that fits you and your family’s goals. 

I want you to not only invest, but feel comfortable and confident with it. 

Make Giving a Bigger Part of Your Budget

The pandemic has affected millions of people throughout the world. Besides the 23.5 cumulative million cases worldwide you also have those impacted by the financial fallout. 

While we can't alleviate all the ills going on, there are ways we can help and incorporate more giving both in our budget and our schedule.

In the spring, when things were rapidly unfolding, here in Raleigh, there were organizations offering assistance.

One of those was the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Last year the Raleigh Branch distributed 30,552,423 meals!

An amazing amount and this year, the need is even greater.

To provide these needed meals, they themselves need support. They were one of the organizations we happily donated because of their incredible work.

I believe this year has been a reminder and motivator for all of us to give when and how we can.

If that's been on your mind too, here are some tips, I've found helpful. Hat tip to Wilson Muscadin of The Money Speakeasy for the inspiration from a conversation we had about giving while in debt.

  • Make your budget reflect your values. Review it occasionally. Do you still feel the same way?
  • Giving is a joyful thing. Don’t use giving as an excuse to break your budget. You are discouraging your spouse and leaving a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to giving.
  • There are more ways to give than just money. Volunteering your time is a fantastic and intimate way to give.

So if you’ve been meaning to include more giving into your budget and your schedule, go for it. It’ll enrich your life and help others.

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Music Credit

Music in this episode was provided by artists from Audiio.

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