What is it you want to achieve with your wealth? Have you ever really stopped to think about what’s important to you from a financial perspective? As women, we’re often so busy making sure everyone else is happy, we forget to focus on ourselves and our financial journey. This is your chance to first dream and then set the goals and steps to make those dreams reality.
We all want something different for our future. What will yours look like? Do you want to follow your passion? Provide care for a loved one? Home-school your children/grandchildren? Or maybe you'd like to be able to spend without feeling guilt.
Often in the corporate world you have goals that are given to you. You don’t necessarily choose them. Those aren’t the goals we’re talking about here. These are the goals that you want to achieve, that make you light up when you talk about them. They are exciting and are the goals you will work hard to achieve. What are those goals for you? And why do want to achieve them? You will need to truly understand the “why” when you hit the messy middle and the going gets tough. Be sure you clearly articulate the “why” so you can refer back to it regularly. Simon Sinek has a fantastic TedTalk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. In it, he explains the meaning behind “why”. Worth a look.
I have always been a goal setter and a planner. My senior year in college, I set two goals. I wanted to work for an airline and I wanted to start graduate school within two years of completing college to get my Masters in Business Administration (MBA). The first goal was because my Mom took me on a trip to Portugal my senior year in high school and I got the travel bug. The second goal was partly because my brother had accomplished that (and if he could, I was too) and partly because I saw it as a path to more money.
When I graduated from college, I had two job offers – one from Northwest Airlines to be a Reservations Agent and one from Republic Airlines to be a Corporate Treasury Analyst. I had interviewed for many other positions, but these were the only two offers I received. Because it was the goal I set and put out into the world? Who knows, but I accepted the job with Republic Airlines. The benefits were amazing. I could fly anywhere Republic flew for $5 one way in coach or $15 one way first class, if there was a seat available on stand-by. My parents, spouse, children received the same benefits. Now the drawback was I didn’t have any vacation or any money. But my Mom loved to travel, so we made numerous weekend trips around the United States. We went to Atlanta, Boston, New York…
Eighteen months into my stint in my industry of choice, Republic was purchased by Northwest Airlines. My boss jumped ship and I was offered the equivalent of his job at Northwest. I had been interviewing with Cargill, Incorporated and was offered a position in their Corporate Treasury group that was basically a lateral move. I took the job with Cargill. Go back to the two goals I set in college. Northwest had no tuition reimbursement program, Cargill offered full tuition reimbursement. As much as I had enjoyed working for an airline, the part of me that wanted to make more money was stronger and I felt I had to get the advanced degree to continue to move up the corporate ladder.
A recent study by Schwab said, we are 60% more likely to increase our savings and twice as likely to stick with a savings plan if we write it down. Only 24% of the people surveyed said they have a written plan. Neuroscience also suggests that if we write down our goals we are more likely to follow through. A different part of the brain lights up when you write it down causing it to be more memorable. Putting pen to paper is important.
But don’t go overboard. Dreaming of writing a best-selling novel is wonderful, but actually writing for 15 minutes a day is a great starting point. Look at making bite-sized changes, don’t try to eat the elephant all at one time.
What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve? Have you written down goals in the past? If this was new, what surprises or roadblocks did you run into? What can you do to overcome any issues? Is there a different way to approach it? Or a way around it? Spend some time brainstorming and talk to friends and family members about what it is you want to achieve. You might be surprised at the ideas and support you receive.