Time for a mid-year check-up

It may seem surprising, but we have actually hit the half way point on 2014. Time seems to travel more quickly as the years go by.

Since we are at the mid-point of the year, it is a good time to step back and assess how the year is going financially.

New Year’s Resolutions

A recent study by researchers at the University of Scranton indicated that 62% of people at least occasionally make New Year’s Resolutions but only 8% of those resolutions are actually kept.

That shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The new year brings hope and a desire to change things we wish were different, but the reality is habits are hard to change and most often we slip back into the same comfortable patterns.

So how about you? Did you make any financial resolutions this year? Did you set goals for paying off debt or saving? Perhaps you resolved to stick to a budget? Now is a good time to evaluate how you are doing.

Take a few moments to see if you are on track.

If you are doing well, Congratulations!! You are doing great. Keep up the good work.

Oops, I’m a little off track

If, on the other hand, you are not on track to meet those goals, now is a great time to revisit that goal.

Consider why you are off track. Did unforeseen circumstances get in the way?  Maybe you had planned to increase your savings but then life got in the way.

This happened to me last year. Our dentist indicated my son would need braces soon and so I began to save some extra money in our HSA so that when the time came we’d have the money to pay for them. Then we had an unexpected hospital visit that used up most of what I had saved.

Sometimes life happens. Despite our best intentions, things happen that derail our plans. That’s ok. Just get back up and get back in the game. Maybe you don’t reach your goal as quickly as you planned. Maybe you don’t reach your goal at all. I’ll bet though that you get a lot farther than if you hadn’t had any goal at all.

The good news is I had money to pay the medical bills from the hospital visit. Fortunately, our dentist had given us plenty of warning about the approaching need for braces and so we had time to rebuild the savings. Those braces will be going on this summer and we have the money to pay cash for them.

If you are not on track to meet your goals you set back in January, don’t be discouraged. Either make some adjustments to help you get back on track, or celebrate the fact that although you may come up a little short, you are still in better shape than if you hadn’t had a goal.

Goals, did I have goals??

Perhaps, though that resolution was long forgotten by the second week of January. It’s not too late. Perhaps you had a goal of saving $100 a month, but you never really got started. You could try to save $200 a month to get back on track.

But maybe the best approach is to just give yourself a little grace. Consider why you didn’t follow through with your goal, and resolve to start today. If you save that $100 a month starting today, you’ll miss your goal of $1,200 for the year, but you’ll have $600 in the bank that you don’t have today!

What resolutions?

Or perhaps you are thinking a check-up would be a good idea if I had set some goals, but I’m more of a go with the flow kind of person.

While resolutions and goal-setting are often tied to the new year simply because the new year brings the promise of change, there is nothing magical about January 1st.

Take the time this week to review your financial situation. Do you have some margin in your life, or is debt strangling you to the point that you can barely make the payments?  Is your job going well or do you barely make enough to get by? Or maybe you make a decent wage but wonder where it all goes and why you still feel broke? Are you on track saving for retirement? Do you plan to help Jr. with college? If you had a $1,000 emergency today would you be able to pay cash or would you have to put it on credit?

If any of those questions make you feel a little uncomfortable, today is the day to do something about it. Make a plan. Choose one goal and go after it. Don’t try to do it all at once. We often fail when we try to accomplish too many things at the same time.

While you may not solve all your problems at once I can guarantee you’ll be closer to where you want to be on July 1, 2015, if you start to follow a plan today.

Are you on track to meet your financial goals for 2014?

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