- New Year’s resolutions feel reactive to me instead of proactive, so I set ‘intentions’ every year.
- Many of my intentions involve my financial goals, and this year I’ve set 4 intentions for my money.
- I want to write a will, reconfigure my banking and tax setup, and work on my scarcity mindset.
- Read more at Personal Finance Insider.
I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions, I think they create too much pressure. To me, the idea of resolving to stop a certain behaviour feels punitive, restrictive, and doomed to fail. The focus seems to be on what’s not going well, rather than what change you want to see in your life and how to make it happen.
But, I like the idea of planning for the year ahead. So, I decided to reframe the concept for myself. So, I set New Year’s intentions instead of making resolutions.
I know, we’re kind of talking semantics here, but to me, intention-setting feels hopeful, aspirational, and inherently connected to making a plan. I set intentions that align with my values and with how I want to feel in the coming year.
I’ve developed a practice of including my finances and money goals alongside my other intentions. I flesh out what I hope to achieve with my money and how my finances need to support the many intentions that I set.
My intentions for my money are often a combination of concrete, measurable goals — like increasing my emergency fund by 5% — and less tangible things, like learning to pause and reflect when I have the impulse to spend. This year, I have four New Years’ money intentions that I hope to achieve.
1. Have a will made for myself
I’m a little ashamed to admit that this intention is actually a holdover from last year. It’s clear to me that I have a bit of a mental block with this.
My husband died very suddenly at the age of 37 when I was only 31 years old. Neither of us had a will at the time of his death, and it made the whole process of getting our affairs in order while in acute grief that much more complicated and brutal.
I’ve known that I needed to have my own will made ever since. I feel more ready now, and I have clear ideas of what I would want to happen with my estate if I were to die tomorrow.
Some of the money intentions I set lend themselves to clear action, like this one. Creating a will is something I can program a reminder in my calendar for and get started on right away. For an intention like this, I may flesh out action items and pepper them throughout the year in my calendar.
2. Set up a ‘taxes’ savings account
I’ve been freelancing for a long time. Even when I worked a full-time, salaried job I still had a side hustle. It’s been more lucrative at times, and less so at others.
One particularly strong professional year, I was hit with a huge bill when tax season rolled around. I was totally unprepared.
My increased workload that year pushed me into a different tax bracket and I had to pull from my savings to pay my taxes — and my accountant! I vowed never to put myself in that position again.
So, I started putting half of my earnings from my side hustle into a savings account every month. When it came time to pay my taxes, it hurt a little less to draw from an account specifically earmarked for that very purpose.
The psychology behind that is that the money never really existed to me, in terms of what I have to spend. Now that I only freelance, I need to pay closer attention to the money I put aside in preparation for tax season.
To that end, I’m meeting with my financial advisor at the New School of Finance this month to determine exactly how much I need to put aside every month into a designated ‘taxes’ savings account.
3. Establish a new banking structure
Since 2017, I’ve had a clear banking structure that was suited to my life as a full-time, salaried employee with a side hustle.
Now that that’s no longer my situation, I need my banking structure to reflect my new reality and the natural ebbs and flows of freelance life.
This new structure needs to support me through feast and famine and make a clear distinction between my business, personal, and savings accounts. What once worked no longer applies. New learning, here I come!
4. Free myself from a scarcity mindset
I began my financial journey with a mindset of lack and scarcity, and need to pivot away from it. I recognized last year that if I was going to go fully freelance, it would have to be different than the first time I tried it many years ago, when I suffered burnout and took whatever compensation people would offer me for my services.
In tandem with working on my valuation of my worth, my rates, and how much I’m willing to work, I’m also actively shifting my perspective to focusing on all that I do have — as opposed to what I don’t have.
I stay away from comparing my own financial situation to that of other people in my life, and I’m honing in on what wealth, success, and prosperity mean to me.
Intentions like this that have more to do with how I feel about money, or ones that relate to behaviours, I let sink in before assigning any specific actions to them. I find it’s often enough to articulate the intention, write it down, and then go back to it every now and then to see what kind of progress I’m making.
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