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Financial resolutions come with the New Year. They’re as much a part of the tradition as noisemakers and confetti, it seems. But as we start this January, we’re not just ringing in 2020. We’re forging ahead into a whole new decade. While the thought of making financial resolutions for the next 10 years might seem overwhelming, it’s actually a terrific opportunity to engage in a different kind of financial goal setting—one that reaches well into the future.

Time is your friend when you are looking at anything around financial planning and investing,. It’s so important to keep a longer time horizon, because you have more time for your money to work and grow for you.

Saving, reducing debt, funding education, paying for life’s milestones and retirement—these are the financial goals you can work toward this year and throughout your life. Here’s how to approach 2020 with an eye toward long-term financial goals, without losing the immediacy of the near-term.

 

Creating a financial plan for the new decade means thinking strategically about your savings and investments—that is, tying them to specific, intermediate-term goals, such as saving for a down payment on a car or a vacation place. To get from point A to point B, you need to be thoughtful and methodical, Knowing your goals, and how long you have to reach them, will help you figure out, for example, whether to put money into savings or to invest it.

A typical market cycle is five to seven years, so if you need the money in less time than that, consider putting it in savings—especially if you plan to completely fund the goal yourself and don’t need to rely on your money growing significantly. That strategy could be right for goals like taking a big trip abroad, tackling a home-improvement project or even making a down payment on a home in the next several years. For longer-term goals, such as funding retirement or college costs, investing is often a smart strategy.

The benefit of having a view of the next 10 years is that you can adjust for market volatility or unplanned life events that can occur in the short-term, such as illness or job loss. There will inevitably be bumps along the way, so think ahead of time about how you will address them,. Whether it’s helping your adult child pay for their wedding in two years or starting a business in 10, be proactive about setting milestones—and remember to course-correct along the way.

 

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No matter what your financial goals are for 2020, consider dividing them into two categories: goals related to being prepared for the unexpected this year, and those related to what you want to be different at end of the year.

First, financial emergencies derail a surprising number of people. Life just gets in the way, so it’s important to try to prepare, According to 2019 survey1 on financial security, only 40% of Americans would be able to cover a $1,000 emergency out of savings. The start of a fresh year is an ideal time to create some liquid savings goals, such as having three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund, possibly more if you have a spouse or dependents. Consider setting up an automatic transfer into the account each month until you reach your target savings amount.

Second, imagine yourself on December 31, 2020. What do you want to have accomplished this year, financially speaking? Is there a debt you want to have paid down substantially? A summer vacation you want to be able to book? Work backwards, and draw up a budget to clarify what you need to do each week or month to reach that goal. Using a basic spreadsheet or an app, plug in your numbers (income minus expenses) and make plans for how best to work with what’s left. What financial habits do you need to adopt if you want to make more than the minimum payment on a loan? And how will you track your progress? The key is to create a sustainable system that sets you up for success

 

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The quote at the top of the page is instructive in that we believe success in investing depends on strategy and tactics; minimising or avoiding mistakes, flexibility, commitment to action, nimbleness, intuitiveness and expertise. 

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