The Biggest Hurdles to Your Money Goals

June 19, 2014
Laura Joszt

A look at 5 big hurdles to achieving your financial goals and how you can get around them and back on track.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Despite our best intentions, goals and resolutions fall by the wayside and never come to fruition.

Managing our money continues to be a struggle for people. People who made a money resolution back in January have a 50/50 change of following through by June, according to research from the University of Scranton.

When people lose motivation or give up, they’ve come upon a mental hurdle they can’t seem to get over. Most of these mental blocks have solutions, though.

Vague goals

Put pen to paper and write out a very specific goal. Keeping an idea in your head will make it easier to give up on or forget about. Writing out specifics will give you something to grasp onto, something solid to aspire to. People who write down their goals are more likely to reach them.

Plus, writing down what you want can also serve as a reminder in addition to being motivational. Leave a reminder in your wallet that you’re saving for a 60” flat-screen TV and maybe you’ll rethink an impulse purchase.

Failures

If something gets the best of us, it’s easy to give up. The most successful people are the type to take a failure and learn from it. They often try multiple times before they succeed, but because they never give up, they do better than the average person.

Why weren’t you able to meet your financial goal? What is standing in your way and how can you fix it or remove it so that you succeed the next time around?

Also, let others hold you accountable. Tell friends, family, or a significant other about your goal. The knowledge that someone else will be privy to your success or failure will prevent you from giving up in secret.

Getting overwhelmed by long-term goals

When saving for a long-term goal, the little things you do everyday might not seem like they’re making a difference. However, even a small amount adds up if done consistently over the long term.

People tend to focus more on the short term and often hurt their long-term goals by settling for immediate satisfaction. Instead of saving the money for retirement, a vacation is much more desirable and because it can be accomplished more quickly, it could take precedence.

Automating your saving will prevent you from sacrificing important long-term goals for short-term ones. Any money that is left over at the end of the month can be put toward those short-term goals anyway.

Unrealistic budgets

People often overextend their reach. At the beginning, when planning a budget, it may seem easy to decide on an amount to save each month, but it needs to be realistic. Don’t plan to set aside $800 a month for a new car, if you don’t think you can really do it. If you aren’t honest with yourself, you’ll have trouble sticking to the plan.

Don’t be afraid to adjust as you go. After 2 or 3 months, it may become apparent that $500 a month for a new car is more realistic. By reducing the amount, you can enjoy your life without feeling like you are cheating by sneaking money out of your car fund.

Before setting out a hard budget, spend a few months tracking your expenses and see how much you can realistically save and what you can comfortably cut out without sacrificing the lifestyle you want to live.

Procrastination

Managing and budgeting money doesn’t really stoke a fiery passion in most people. In fact, money issues are very scary and difficult. And when people are confronted with something that makes them uncomfortable they’ll likely ignore it and procrastinate.

Take a large goal and break it down into small, easily managed pieces. If you want to save $12,000 for a home renovation, set out smaller goals that add up to the overall one. Set out to save $1,000 in 2 months, first. Or go a month without making a clothing purchase and put the money saved toward your objective. These smaller goals are easier to accomplish and still contribute to the overall goal.