OPINION: Turning dreams into goals
Everyone has “one day” dreams. Dreams of one day buying a house at the coast or to one day sail around the world or simply to one day enjoy financial freedom.
But dreams will remain dreams if you don’t know how to turn them into goals.
One of the best ways to turn dreams into reality is to start with revising your financial plan and making sure that you have a clear picture of where you currently stand financially. You need to have a good understanding of the stretch you have to make to achieve your dreams and goals.
It is also important to be aware of and appreciate your financial position and remember that your dreams and goals must be realistic, while still leaving you with enough money to enjoy life until you reach them.
To get an idea of where you are going and how you’re going to get there, work out the overall financial amount that you would require to make each particular dream a reality. Then break it down into bite-size pieces so that you can manage the smaller increments. Smaller, more attainable goals will keep you motivated as you achieve the milestones on the path to the end goal.
It is advisable to keep a detailed record of how much you are spending, and what you’re spending it on. Work out how much you can afford to save each month, create a budget and then stick to it.
Try and fast-track the path to your dreams and goals. For instance, if you are comfortably putting away 10% of your salary, try putting away 15% and make cut-backs in other areas. Keep your eye on the ball – remember what the additional sacrifice is for.
Remember the power of compound interest – even saving just a little bit of extra every month will make a huge difference in the end – and allow you to distinguish between good and bad debt.
Putting away extra money can also start with something simple, such as having a physical piggy bank to put money into that you would have otherwise used for small expenses, like buying lunch at work.
Don’t lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. Attach visual images of your dreams to your financial goals. For example, if you want to own a beach property, have a picture of your dream home where you can see it every day. This way, when you are making financial sacrifices, you can remember the house on the beach – and it should make it all worthwhile.
1. Have a clear picture of where you stand financially.
2. Make sure your goals and dreams are realistic.
3. Break your financial goals into bite-size pieces.
4. Push yourself to save more, even if it is only 1% more, it accumulates over time.
5. Remember your everyday sacrifices will lead to you achieving your long-term goal sooner.
Jeanette Marais, Deputy CEO at MMI Holdings Ltd