Get a Friend's Help to Improve Your Finances
New Year’s resolutions are notoriously tough to keep, especially when they relate to your finances. But recruiting a “financial buddy” who will provide you support and keep you accountable can help you accomplish your money goals this year.
Find A Buddy
A financial buddy can be anyone — a parent, a spouse, a friend or a co-worker. Whomever you consider, make sure that person has certain qualities. Choose someone who:
- You like and trust. You may be sharing intimate money details with your buddy, so you want to make sure you're comfortable with the person.
- Will set a good example. This person doesn't have to be a money expert, but he or she needs to share your motivation and readiness to stick to your respective money goals.
- Will understand your resolutions. You don't have to be working toward the same goals, but you do need your buddy to know your desired outcomes and be supportive of your efforts.
- Will keep you honest. Your buddy should feel he or she can call you out if you become distracted or less committed to your goals.
Start Off Right
Once you have selected your buddy, work together to create long-term plans for both of you.
- Talk about your behaviors with money. Bring up past successes and failures so your buddy knows what might make you shine or set you back. Identify what is behind your respective financial decisions.
- Set a money goal. Will you start investing in your 401(k)? Write a will by the end of the year? Set up an automatic deposit into your child's college savings fund?
- Break it down. Make your goal specific and measurable. Instead of saying you want to spend less and save more, pledge to cut your budget by a specific percentage or to increase your savings by a set amount each week.
- Be realistic about your situation. No two buddies will be in the same financial place, but you might have similar goals. Keep your own situation in mind instead of trying to measure up to what your buddy wants to accomplish.
Keep It Up
Once you have created a plan, keep tabs on each other.
- Check in regularly via email, Facebook or a phone call.
- Contact your buddy for moral support if you are tempted to stray from your plan.
- Celebrate milestones along the road to your ultimate goals and spend time together outside your financial lives.