This is not another article about New Year’s resolutions. Despite our good intentions, we all know resolutions don’t really stick.
Instead, we’re going to show you how to sort your savings goals and get finance fit in 2021.
The past year delivered so many unexpected blows that it can be a challenge to look too far into the future. We’ve all been dealt a bit of trauma. No one could have prepared themselves for the botched shamble of a dog’s breakfast that was 2020.
This year, it’s time to put things in place to move forward and set yourself up for a secure future. If anything, it’s now more important than ever to get on top of your finances.
Time to set some savings goals.
Why We Need Goals
We know, setting goals sounds like the No Fun Police just shut down your good time. But we promise, it’s well worth it and it’s not that bad.
Goals give us direction and purpose. They remind us of what we want in life.
Goals keep us focussed. They keep our eyes on the prize and help us ignore the shiny objects on the way.
Goals take a big dream and break it down into smaller steps. Each small step takes you closer to the result you’re aiming for.
Let’s Talk Strategy
When it comes to setting savings goals, you need a game plan that is going to work for you.
We all know someone who has strict self-discipline. They say they will go to the gym every day for a month and no matter what, they stick to it. But we also know the other types - the ones who swear they’ll be there and the next week you see they’ve been unable to make a gym session due to an important “insert life event”.
There’s a saying, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
No matter where you are on the gym spectrum, there is a way to stick to your goals. You just need the right strategy to make it happen.
Let’s look at a few options for strategies to get you on the way to crushing your savings goals.
As mentioned, this works well for some people and not so well for others. But it’s fairly simple - smashing your savings goals may just be a matter of taking a hard look at where you’re spending and being a bit stricter about your needs versus wants.
Needs and wants can sometimes be hard to distinguish. Being used to living with something to the point that you think you can’t live without it… isn’t really a need, my friend. You very well might NEED coffee to function, but does it NEED to be a $5 flat white every morning or could you brew your own at home?
Needs are what you require for basic living. Rent, utilities, food, stuff you need to do your job and take care of your health. Wants are things like Netflix, takeaways, travel, a new phone, new clothing… Groceries are a need. Soda, crisps and beer are wants.
So if you can do it, set yourself a budget and put the rest in savings for short-term goals and investments like KiwiSaver for long-term goals.
For others, not having to think so much about savings is the better option. Automation removes time and hassle, provided it’s backed up by a good budget.
Set your bills to auto-pay and never worry about late fees. Automate your savings either through your company’s payroll or by an automatic transfer at your bank. Automate a portion of your income to a discretionary spending account. (That’s fancy talk for buying what you want - see, you can budget those flat whites!).
A bit of effort on a budget and setting up some automation can save a lot of headaches. One simple automation to set up is your KiwiSaver contribution. Your employer takes it out of your pay so you don’t even have to think about it. With a little help from BetterSaver you can be sure to get into the best fund to make the most of your contributions.
Pay Yourself First
Changing the way you think about saving can make a difference. Consider it as paying your future self. You’re putting your long-term needs ahead of everything immediate - including your bills.
If you think you’ll save whatever you have left after the bills are paid, often nothing gets saved. It’s too far down the priority list. Put your savings away first, then pay your bills. If you put your savings first, you will cut corners where you need to to pay the rent. But if you pay the rent first, it’s more likely that the remaining balance goes to coffee and takeaways instead of savings or investments.
When you sign up for KiwiSaver, you’re making a commitment to look after your future self. Plus, your employer matches your contribution (up to 3%) so you’re already setting a good pace to grow your savings. On top of that, your provider invests your funds according to your chosen risk level, so you stand to see significantly more growth than in a regular old savings account.
Here’s a few of BetterSaver’s suggestions for this year’s goals:
- Optimize your KiwiSaver. Choose your provider, get in the right fund type and set your contribution rate to build up retirement savings and/or a first home deposit.
- Emergency fund. Experts recommend having 2-3 months’ worth of income saved up.
- Pay off debts. Make a plan to pay the high-interest stuff first and you’ll be saving right away by not paying interest.
A study at Dominican University confirmed that people who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not, so make writing down your goals your first step. And don’t just make a note in your phone that you will never look at again. Put them somewhere you’ll actually see them.
Then break these big goals down into smaller weekly and monthly goals. It will make them less intimidating and easier to reach.
Make Things Happen
BetterSaver has all the tools you need to set up your KiwiSaver so that you get the most you can out of it. We’ll help you assess your goals and, whether you want to buy your first home or start building your retirement nest egg, help you get on track to crushing them.
Once your KiwiSaver is set up in the best possible way for you, the rest happens automatically. Money goes in from your contribution, your employer’s share, and every year the government adds a bonus. If your circumstances or goals change, we can easily help you assess if you’re still on the best track for you.
The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll get on top of your . Start now. Start small. Save better.