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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Setting Financial Goals for Year 2010

As the year 2009 is coming to an end, we should start setting financial goals for year 2010. Financial goals are needed so that we can control our day-to-day financial affairs which will be executed by creating and following a budget. Good financial goals are usually realistic and achievable and will give satisfaction to one. It doesn't serve a purpose if a person earning 10,000 a year setting a goal which is to save 20,000 a year because it is impossible to achieve. Not only that, it will then demoralize him or her.

There are few steps to set financial goals:-
  • Identify and write down your goals.
  • Break goals down into short-term goals and long-term goal - timeline could be differ; eg. some might take few months as short-term where as some will consider it as long-term
  • Educate yourself and plan - Learn the debts and assets that we have, and to look into the expenses. Then plan a budget. Follow the budget with discipline and diligently.
  • Evaluate your progress - it doesn't serve a purpose to have goals where we do not strive to achieve it, right?

Just like the rest of the people, I also have certain goals and adjustments that I make every year. Example would be, for the year 2009, I have targeted 20% growth in my stocks portfolio, in which I successfully did and I might figure to have the 20% growth change this year. More generic financial goals for this year would be:-
  • Continue tithing.
  • Clearing 10% debt (both car loan and education loan).
  • Stocks portfolio to grow another 20% (this would be review quarterly).

We still have about 4 days before 2010. Start setting your financial goals for year 2010, and by end of the year, see how many goals that we have achieved. There are no hard ways and fast rules for implementing a realistic financial goal. The important thing is to do it and to start NOW!!

Have you set your financial goals for the year 2010? If so, do share it out :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Spend Wisely This Christmas

As Christmas is just two weeks away I would like to blog a bit on Christmas shopping and spending. I believe by now, many of us are either busy preparing for Christmas, like me, decorating the Christmas tree at home just not long ago or busy planning the shopping details for this year's Christmas and with financial turmoil is just on the way for recovery, many might cut Christmas spending. It is always a virtue to spend wisely this Christmas, as we still have our financial goal to achieve, coupled with more festive celebrations over the next two months, namely the New Year and The Chinese New Year.

Christmas is a celebration of giving as what our God has done by giving his Son, Jesus to redeem us. We can demonstrate the spirit of giving by giving gifts or celebrate this Christmas with others. Anyway, back to the point of spending wisely, there are indeed few points that one can consider in order to reduce the budget for this Christmas while at the same time enjoying this meaningful occasion:-

  • Gifts.......As the celebration is about giving, gifts are like indispensable items on the Christmas day. Gifts usually contributes to big chunks of the Christmas budget. One can consider making gifts on your own and it will be meaningful and unique to the receivers. There are a lot of things that you can do at home and it will be an attractive gifts to others. Some ot the examples are like drawing Christmas cards, knitting a sweater to your love ones, or making a unique photo frame.
  • Food......Food is next item that will cost a lot on this day. Well, one can cook simple meals like spaghetti for the enjoyment of the whole family. Christmas is not all about turkey and meat. It is about the celebration together with the family members and friends. One can organize BBQ or pot bless where the guests can contribute to the food as well.
By cutting on gifts and food, one can still continue to enjoy Christmas day with his or her love ones, and not feel "stingy".