Everyone needs a financial plan and everyone should make a plan that suits their particular circumstances.

You can make your own financial plan that will set you on the path to good financial health. The first, and possibly the most important part is goal setting.

We’ve talked about goals here before, so it’s important to remember to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based) goals. You will need to think about what you want in the short-term, which might be anywhere from now through to 3-4 years, the medium-term which could be from 5-8 years and then long-term goals that look well into the future.

An example of a short-term goal is to finance a new car in 2 years’ time, a medium-term goal might be to save enough for a deposit on a house within 5 years and a long-term goal could be that you don’t want to rely on social security payments when you retire.

It does not matter whether the goal is a short-term or a long-term one, the means to achieving every one of those goals is the same!

You must first look at your income and expenses. Make a budget, this is a pretty simple thing to do these days with a proliferation of budgeting and cashflow apps available, the MoneySmart website is always a good place to begin.

Now you have made your budget and identified that you have some surplus income that you can direct towards saving for your goals, but the critical thing then is to stick to it! You must be very disciplined in ensuring that the identified savings part of your salary goes into your savings and stays there. It’s worth checking with your pay office to see if they will pay your salary into 2 different accounts, but if not, then you must make the transfer as soon as your pay comes in or set up a regular direct debit to occur at that time.  You must also avoid drawing from that account until you are ready to buy the object for which you have been saving.

Unfortunately, in the current economic climate you aren’t going to get much help in growing your savings account via interest payments. This means that you will need to shop around to find an account that pays at least some interest, and as your savings grow, you may be able to use term deposits or other high interest savings accounts for a larger balance.

This will matter to you less when you’re saving for a short-term goal than it will if you are looking at long-term savings. If your goals are long-term, the best course of action is to contact a financial adviser to assist, as you will need their expertise to advise you in relation to how to invest your funds and where to invest them.

Don’t hesitate to call one of our friendly advisers to assist you with your financial progress.

Please note this article provides general advice only and has not taken your personal, business or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored advice, please contact us today.