Help more clients turn their financial resolutions to reality

I get an influx of clients with optimism and determination booking appointments at the start of every year. They plan to buy an investment property, or set up their children with their first property, and couples start getting serious about buying. You likely get the same sort of enquiry; clients who have had time to reflect and plan over the festive break, and come back in January with goals. Research shows that around half of us make a New Year's resolution but only 12 per cent stick to it.

Studies shows that financial resolutions seem to be easier to stick to. Australian’s believe it’s easier to pay down debt and save more than to lose weight or give up smoking. So how can we help more of our clients achieve their financial new year’s resolution?

1. Make it visible. Write the goal down, and break it into monthly and weekly and daily increments. Then display it somewhere visible and accessible in their house. Seeing is believing!

2. Give it an address. Ensure there’s a location for the savings or debt repayments to be directed, set that up in the first few weeks of the year. Whether it’s an account, an app, a credit card that’s been literally frozen (in a freezer, trust me, this works!), or a superannuation account direct transfer. Set up the machinations early.

3. X-ray of 2019. Where did they spend? What did they spend? What themes and costs can be eliminated or reduced? Pulling out your client’s bank accounts and doing a transparent review of incomings and outgoings for the year past will allow you and them to identify and reverse costs that will become hurdles to achieving their financial resolutions. 

4. Individual accounts. Creating separate accounts in line with your client’s objectives can be useful: a travel account, a savings account, a home deposit account and a separate shopping account if they are a self-confessed chronic shopper.

5. Consolidating debts. Many homeowners will resolve to pay down their home loan. This can be achieved by direct debiting a little extra from their salary or by setting up automatic payments. But in this competitive time of low rates, they might be better off refinancing and saving with lower interest. Credit card debts, too, are a common resolution topic. There’s a real opportunity for turning those debts into personal loans or consolidating them into the home loan, if the credit card is no longer needed. Of course, as always, I can help you with any of your client’s debt related or borrowing needs. 

Let’s get our clients kicking goals in 2020!