Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Want to up your financial game in 2016? One word: SMITY

Many Americans have resolved not to make a new years resolution, considering many of their previous ideas have faltered by MLK Holiday. Some are able to follow through with their goals though, and for one main reason: they construct a plan.

More than just having a plan, how the plan is constructed is what determines the likelihood of success. So before altogether tossing the idea of creating a resolution, consider the following success steps:

Step 1: Forgive yourself if you haven’t been able to maintain previous commitments to yourself. Those were just warm-ups - this new goal is truly meant to be!

Step 2: Embrace SMITY
Specific: All plans need to have clear cut objectives, i.e., “Save $10,000.”
Measurable: Create small benchmarks that let you know whether you’re on track, ahead of or behind target. If this is a financial plan, be sure to incorporate it into your monthly spending plan.
In Writing: Whether it be pen-to-pad or via a digital device, putting your goals and methods of achievement where you can see and review (versus just keeping it in your head) does wonders towards successful implementation.
Time Sensitive: The goal of saving $10,000 must have a specific completion date. Once you’ve determined what and by when, you can easily create the how.
Yours: This is the most critical part of your plan. If your goal is not something that you’re really invested in - not because someone else told you it was a good idea, but because you feel that it is important for you to start right now - don’t even begin. This has to be your decision and your commitment to yourself. Otherwise, it’s guaranteed to fail.

Step 3: Be realistic. Pledging (in writing) to lose 50 pounds - or 2 pounds per week (specific) within the next 6 months (time sensitive), by going to the gym 3 times per week (measurable) is fantastic! But if you don’t construct a detailed fitness plan and improve your diet (being healthy is 80% diet and only 20% exercise) your plan is not complete.

Finally, while the beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to reset the clock, you can do that anytime by deciding you’re ready to make a change and getting about the business of doing so. This is simple but not easy so don’t put it off any longer than you absolutely have to.

And so it is.