Personal & Financial Planning goals for 2016
We all hope 2016 will bring us another step closer to achieving our financial and personal goals with continued success in all areas of our lives. This success is most likely to be achieved with a well designed plan that is constantly monitored as the year progresses. In the past financial prosperity was achieved by many people as a result if the unnatural economic exuberance experienced during the Celtic Tiger years.
As the economy improves there will be opportunities to prosper again but arguably your efforts will have to be far more targeted than during the Celtic Tiger years. A S.M.A.R.T approach may help guide you:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Realistic
T - Time Targeted
There are any number of goals that may be important to you, but a good place to start are the following:
1) Income: Consider your income from 2014 and 2015. Has it been growing or falling? Putting a target income figure down on paper that you wish to achieve in 2016 will focus you mind and allow you to consider what steps and action you need to put in place now in order to reach your Income Target.
2) Savings: What is your current level of savings and how is it structured. Savings should be divided up into emergency savings for immediate use and then short term, medium term and long term savings for other uses. For example a 5 year fixed term savings account maybe appropriate for monies designated for payment of kids' future college expenses.
3) Retirement Planning: How much progress did you made on this in 2015 or was it another year in the trenches with little time spent or made in planning for your inevitable retirement? Assuming you have some form of Pension Plan in place, in 2016 you need to understand items such as:
- How has my Pension fund behaved during 2016? Have I lost money or made money?
- Do I know what type of Pension Funds I am invested in? Are they subject to a high degree of volatility?
- How have changes in my personal or business circumstances been catered for within my Pension plan?
- Am I setting plans in place now to ensure I maximise the most tax free cash possible from my pension?
- During the Celtic Tiger years you may have invested your Pension in riskier assets. Now that your business environment has become a more risky place in which to operate, have you considered taking some of the risk and volatility out of your Pension to compensate for these altered circumstances?
4) Business Goals for the Self Employed: These can take many forms but setting financial goals for you business has never been more important. These may take the form of turnover targets, profitability, labour costs, clearly defined sales targets for sales staff, client retention and absenteeism
5) Personal Non Financial Goals: The start of a new year is always the time when we tell ourselves we need to make more time for ourselves and family, but what structures are ever put in place for this. You may have a diary in work or some system that organises and allocates your time so that it is used most effectively, but do you have a similar system for your personal and family life? Perhaps this year allocating time to family and personal well being will take the same level of commitment as your business calendar!