Believe it or not, we’re halfway through 2021. This year has been anything but predictable, and that probably applies to your finances as well.
Whether you’ve been diligently tracking your financial goals since January or haven’t peeked at your resolutions since the first of the year, it’s time for a mid-year check-in.
Below, we’ll outline your financial check-up and how to reach your financial goals, even if you’ve fallen behind.
Setting financial goals or resolutions can be tricky. It’s hard to tell what’s working and what isn’t until a few months have passed.
At the beginning of the year, Tally shared some common financial goals you might strive for, including:
- Paying down debt
- Improving your credit score
- Building an emergency fund
- Live within your means
- Maintaining a budget
- Reducing your expenses
- Saving for retirement
So, how can you tell if you’re on track to achieve these goals by the end of the year? If you set a specific amount to save or pay down by the end of 2021, it’s simple to figure out your progress.
Let’s take building an emergency fund, for example. At the year’s start, Lance set a goal to save $3,000 in an emergency fund by December 31. He’s been putting cash aside and has $1,200 saved at the mid-year point; that’s an average of $200 saved a month so far ($1,200 saved over 6 months).
Now, to reach his goal of $3,000, Lance could take the remaining $1,800 and divide it by the rest of the year (6 months). That means he’ll need to put aside $300, on average, to achieve his goal by the end of the year.
Checking in on progress can be intimidating, but it’s an important part of setting financial goals. Once you know how close or far you are from your goal, the easier it can be to get back on track.
If you’ve made consistent contributions to debt or savings over the past six months, you may be right on track in meeting your goal by the end of the year at the mid-year check-in point. However, it’s important to maintain focus to meet those goals.
Here are some ways to make reaching your overall goals easier:
- Look for ways to reduce expenses. Now could be a great time to revisit your budget and learn how to keep track of your personal finances. You may notice you’re still paying for a subscription service you meant to cancel or dining out more than you anticipated. Taking a look at your spending could reveal extra cash that could go towards your financial goals.
- Schedule another financial check-up. Don’t let another six months lapse before your next financial check-in. Put a reminder on your calendar to revisit this goal in a few months. This appointment can help keep you on track.
- Celebrate. Staying on track is a huge accomplishment and taking some time to celebrate this small win along the way can be a good incentive to keep the end goal in mind.
Like that time you said you’d go to the gym every day or practice a new language an hour each day, we won’t always achieve the goals that we set. If you have fallen behind or failed miserably at maintaining a budget or breaking free of debt, don’t despair – fresh starts aren’t just for the New Year, and now’s a perfect time to get back on track with these tips:
- Making attainable goals. While you may have made it a goal to max out your retirement account before the year’s end, that goal may have been impossible given your monthly expenses. Being ambitious can feel good when setting goals, but if you’re falling seriously short, it could mean scaling back your ultimate goal. Instead of aiming to max accounts out, why not try for halfway? Remember, making progress toward a goal is still a positive thing.
- Forgiving instead of regretting. It’s easy to be hard on yourself when things don’t go your way, but you don’t have to entirely give up on the goal. Instead, give yourself a break, start fresh, and move forward with that attainable goal.
- Making goals feel managable. Instead of visualizing your financial goal as one big bottom-line number, break it down into digestible chunks. Paying down $2,500 in consumer debt before the end of the year can sound impossible – try dividing payments down per week instead. That $2,500 goal becomes around $100 a week. Breaking one big goal down into many smaller ones can make the whole process feel less intimidating.
Perhaps you’ve blown through your annual financial goals halfway through the year. Yes, it’s time to celebrate, but it’s also the perfect moment to set your sights a little higher. If you’re ahead on your financial check-up, here’s how you can plus-up your goals:
- Setting goals higher. Did you meet your $1,000 emergency savings goal? Try to double it before the year’s end. Take the momentum you have now, and use it to reach an even loftier goal.
- Creating a new financial goal. Maybe you’re consumer-debt-free for the first time in years. Besides celebrating getting out of debt, what do you want to achieve next? You don’t have to wait for 2022 to create a new goal, and now might be the perfect time to start saving for that dream vacation or future home down payment.
Learning how to reach financial goals takes time and practice, and making regular check-ins can be a helpful tool. During financial check ups, you can figure out if you’re on track, far ahead, or falling behind on those goals you want to achieve.
When it comes to conquering debt, opening up your books and checking on your finances can be intimidating, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. If you’re aiming to pay off debt, Tally can be a helpful tool along the way. The automated payment app can help you pay down debt faster, giving you the motivation to make even more ambitious financial goals.
To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. Based on your credit history, the APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% – 29.99% per year. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Tally Technologies, Inc. NMLS # 1492782 (nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law License or other laws in your state.