Reaching Financial Goals

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What are your financial goals for the new year? Maybe you’ve made a resolution to take a great trip, buy a new home or become debt free in 2006.

Whatever your ambition, one thing is certain: Reaching your target will take planning. Here are tips that can help turn wishes into reality.

Stay focused—Your action list may be running over with a variety of needs and wants. For example, you may be saving for a vacation, a new house and trying to eliminate a surplus of debt—all at the same time. Unfortunately, that kind of financial multi-tasking can lead to overload.

So STOP! Take a breath. Now, instead of trying to do everything at once, prioritize. What’s most important to you? Focus on that goal and move on to the next step, which is …

Get a plan—What do you need to do to get from where you are to where you want to be?

To use a travel analogy, say you’re thinking of taking a trip. A weekend driving-type get-away can usually be pulled together with a phone call for a reservation at a chosen resort. But a month long vacation may require an airplane ticket, car rental, hotel accommodations and day excursions when you reach your destination.

Knowing what steps are involved—and taking time to plan each one—will help you reach your objective.

Rely on yourself, but ask an expert—No one is more familiar with your goals then you. And in many cases, you’re the best person to take charge of your financial life. But trusting yourself means recognizing when you need outside assistance.

For instance, if you’re trying to become debt-free because your credit is overextended, rely on yourself. Set up a budget and a payment schedule and get those balances down to a manageable level.

But if you’re drowning in bills that overwhelm your income and the creditors are knocking at your door, a credit counselor or financial professional can help get you back on track more quickly.

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