Our personal financial goals are sky-high. Our goal is to be someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, but the reality is something different. Most of us fail to reach 50% of our personal financial goals at the end of the year. We write our goals on a piece of paper and resolve to get them done. We discuss our goals and aspirations with friends and family. We create a budget and a ‘to do’ list. But as days turn into months, we forget about them. Nothing happens.
I don’t think anyone wishes to fail at their personal finance goals. So why do people fail to attain their goals? Why is there a gap between financial goals and real life? Let us find out.
Why do people fail to achieve their financial goals?
Why is there a big gap between financial goals and real life? What are the reasons? Let’s find out.
- Lack of knowledge: People don’t have a proper personal finance education. They don’t have the know-how of how to succeed.
- Unwillingness to miss out anything: It is not easy to attain financial goals. You need to sacrifice a lot of things. Many people don’t wish to miss out things. They want everything.
- People want to show-off: A lot of people look at money as a status symbol. They love to show off. As such, they end up spending money to lead a flamboyant lifestyle. Naturally, they fail to manage money efficiently and incur debt.
Suppose your personal finance goal is to clear your credit card debts by the end of 2017. But you can’t give up your habit of buying branded clothes or driving a luxurious car. Naturally, you’ll fail to attain your bigger goals like getting out of debt.
A person who is good at money management will use his extra money or savings to get rid of credit card debts with a debt consolidation program or a settlement program. He wouldn’t waste money on leading a flamboyant lifestyle since negative listings on a credit report is not good for his credit score.
- People don’t have adequate income: Our financial dreams are the innermost wishes of our heart. But the reality is something different. Sometimes, people fail to achieve their goals because of inadequate income. They don’t have enough money to cover their spending levels. Achieving financial goals is the least of their concern when their whole focus is on how to put food on the table every day.
- Debt load is too huge: Too many financial obligations can stop you from attaining your financial goals. If your debt load is too huge, then your credit score is bound to drop. A low credit score forces you to postpone your dreams.
- Lack of discipline: Financial discipline is a necessary skill required for attaining your goals. But this is not something people enjoy talking about. Our culture encourages us to ‘have it now’ with credit cards. But this kind of thinking is not good for your financial life since it keeps you enslaved to your debt. You’re not able to live stress-free.
Suppose you owe $30,000 on your credit cards. You don’t have enough money to pay it off. But your financial goal is to move to a bigger apartment. How will you do it? How will it be possible? If your credit score is too low, lenders won’t give you a home loan. Naturally, you have to postpone your plan of buying a bigger apartment.
It’s frustrating when the gap is too big
The big gap between our present reality and what we want to achieve is frustrating. It leads to a feeling of hopelessness. But we have to start from somewhere. Here are a few tips that can help to bridge the gap.
- Create a list of your long-term goals and short-term goals.
- Start working on achieving your short-term goals and keep the long-term goals in mind.
- Monitor your progress.
- Keep on trying till you reach your long-term goal.
Your long-term goal is quit the job after 20 years. But you don’t have retirement savings or personal savings. Your net worth is also zero. If you wish to retire after 20 years, then your personal savings rate has to be 45% over that time. The gap is quite big.
Your long-term goal is clear. Your short-term goal must be to get to 45% personal saving rate as soon as possible.
How would you do it?
- Look at your budget planner app and track your expenses in the spending category.
- Think about 6 changes you’ll make to increase your savings rate to 10% in the next 7 days.
- Think about 12 changes you’ll make to increase your savings rate to 25% in the next month.
- Think about 24 changes you’ll make to push your savings rate to 50% and so on.
Keep a tab on your progress, continue and repeat.
Prioritize your goals - It’s important
Prioritize your goals if you need to bridge a gap between your financial goals and reality. Divide your goals on the different level of priorities.
- Your first goal will have a profound effect on your life.
- Your second goal is the one that needs immediate action.
Your first goal can be about acquiring a better job that would improve the quality of the life you’re leading.
Your second goal can be about paying a long overdue bill.
Both the goals are important. Decide the operation mode to attain your financial goals. Note down the consequences of missed opportunities, pain and hazards you’ll face for not meeting your goals. When you begin a project, set a time and date when you expect to complete your project. Promise yourself that you’ll finish the project within the stipulated time. Make a commitment to others as well as to those who are affected by the result of your commitment. Self-imposed deadlines work like miracles. Your subconscious mind processes that information and helps you complete the task.
This article was written by Stacy B. Miller of Kiss Your Money.
Stacy is a content editor at Oak View Law Group. Her articles are a beautiful union of her love for money and playing with words.
After working as a content writer for 5 years, she launched her blog where she posts articles on money, credit, debt, personal finance, and other financial topics.
Her blog gives real-world advice, tips and tricks to manage money like a pro. In the next 5 years, her plan is to explore the world and take her blog to the next level.