The Race to Financial SuccessPublished 4:31pm Monday, August 12, 2013
On my father’s credenza in his office sits a picture that he loves to show people. It’s a picture of he and I crossing the finish line of the Wizard of Oz half-marathon with arms raised together in victory. He’s wearing running clothes and shoes; I am in knee high leather boots and a rain coat. I had not planned on running this race. I was a spectator. At mile nine while cheering my dad on I heard him say, “My hip is bothering me” so I started to jog beside him. I ran the remaining four miles next to him because he needed encouragement.
All of us at some point need encouragement to succeed in our financial plan. Like with running, we need goals and plans to develop healthy financial habits. Whether you are a marathon runner or a couch-to-5K participant, goals give you the vision and motivation needed to cross the finish line.
Setting financial goals can be as simple as sitting down with pen and paper, and writing down your financial vision for the future. Goals provide direction and purpose. They are finish lines. When my dad and I race we don’t have to look for the finish line, we know where we’re headed and all of our efforts are directed to the accomplishment of the goal.
Whether your goal is debt repayment, college funding, renovating a home, retirement, giving to charity, or learning to balance your checkbook, knowing where you want to be will help you create a plan to get there.
A year ago, getting up at 5:00 a.m. to train or run did not appeal to me. However, because of having a goal to run a half-marathon I began, one day at a time, to train. Now I actually look forward to early morning exercise. Working towards your financial goals may begin uncomfortably but taken one small step at a time, with the goal in sight, they become not only manageable but rewarding.
Experts tell us it takes 21 days to develop a habit. So with your financial goal in mind, start a daily routine. Show up and keep going. It seems all runners like suggestions from trainers. Money management experts suggest these goals: reduce your debt, save regularly, invest for retirement, diversify, plan for the unexpected, and manage your risk with insurance.
Reaching your financial goals is more valuable than a picture perfect photo line finish. Ready, set, go!
by Kathryn Crabtree