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[Personal Finance] Simple Acts That Make Financial Goals A Reality

The ‘game-changing’ power of accountability

It’s hard to stay focused on our financial goals when we’re worried about money. But that’s actually the time when goal-setting matters the most.

Neuroscientists have learned that when we set a goal, we set off a chemical process in our brains that create strategies to achieve them:  the ‘smarter’ your goals, the smarter the solutions.

Be $mart

When it comes to setting goals, make sure they pass the smart test.

S-specific:  I will save 5 hundred dollars in an emergency fund by next December! Specific goals help you make better spending and savings choices.

M-measurable:  if you want to save 5 hundred dollars by December, you know you must save 50 dollars a month beginning in march and be at the $250 mark by July. Achieving that measurable mid-year success motivates your brain and builds confidence to keep going.

A-attainable:  researchers from New York University found that when our brains perceive our goals to be unattainable, our blood pressure and drive actually go down. So make sure your goal is realistic enough to actually reap the reward of setting one. Is $500 a reach or is it do-able?

Relatable:  you should be able to clearly share your goals with a friend or loved one. This accountability greatly improves your chance of success.

T-timely:  if you’re helping your child pay for college this year, it may not be the time to buy a new house, or even save an extra 5 hundred dollars. Timely goals eliminate financial stress.

[CLICK HERE to learn about the investing habits of wealthy Blacks]

Accountability = Success

Gail Matthews from Dominican University in California Matthews recruited a variety of entrepreneurs, attorneys, educators, artists, managers, and other professionals from different parts of the world and broke them into five groups:

  • Group 1 was asked to think about their goals
  • Group 2 not only had to think about their goals, but they also typed them into a survey
  • Group 3 did all of the above and also wrote an action plan for each goal
  • Group 4 did all of the above and had to share their commitments with a friend
  • Group 5 did the same things but also had to send a friend a weekly progress report

The study looked at outcomes over a 1 month period.  When it was complete, Group 1 accomplished 43% of their stated goals.  Group 4 accomplished 64%, Group 5, the most successful accomplished 76%.

“This study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of 3 coaching tools:  Accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals,” said Matthews.

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Get Real

As Matthews and other researchers have proven, there’s a connection that’s made between the brain and the progress of where we’re going when things are written and we see it.

This is not a dress rehearsal. This is your real life. Take a few extra steps and make your financial goals a reality.

Stacey Tisdale
Stacey Tisdale
Founder, CEO, Executive Producer

Stacey Tisdale, a more than 20-year veteran TV broadcast financial journalist, and financial behavior expert, is one of the first women, and the first African-American to report from the New York Stock Exchange, in her role as a reporter/anchor for Dow Jones' Emmy Award-winning, Wall Street Journal Television.

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