GREENSBORO, N.C. — Two weeks into the new year and your bills from Christmas have landed in your mailbox. Bad timing since you just put a plan in motion to become more financially fit this year.
Before you let your goals slip through the cracks, money expert Ja'Net Adams offered three steps to help you set and keep your financial focus.
"This is the time of year when everyone is full of energy. You are ready to take on the world, but are you ready to take on your finances? This is the perfect time to take inventory of your finances so that you can be in a better place financially next year," said Adams, who wrote the book, The Money Attractor.
Adams said taking inventory of your finances means asking yourself these questions.
1. Where are you?
Taking inventory of your situation starts with figuring out your circumstances.
"The main reason people do not reach financial freedom is that they don't know where to start. To know where to start, you have to look at your numbers. Look at how much debt you have and how much is in your savings account. When you know these numbers, you can attack your financial goals. Without these numbers you will continue to run in circles year after year," Adams said.
2. Where do you want to be?
"You have to know your specific financial goals. Saying that you want to be rich will get you nowhere. You have to be specific with the goal and the amount of time you want to achieve it. For example, instead of saying, 'I want to be rich,' pack your goals with details. For instance, 'I want to max out my savings or 401K this year.'"
Being specific will help you identify your true goals and limit distractions.
3. How will you get there?
"Once your financial goals are specific then it is time to figure out how you are going to make it happen," Adams said. "For example, you might want to save $1000 in six months, but if your paycheck only covers the bills then saving $1000 is never going to happen."
"If you can't reach your $1000 goal, make a plan to bring in extra money. You can make money by selling items or getting a part-time job, but figure out a plan to reach your goal."
You need to start working towards your goals now.
"This is the perfect time to get a head start on your finances. Don't wait two months because you will end up playing catch up," Adams said.