According to a recent poll we conducted with money expert Loral Langemeier, over the past five years, three out of five people have failed to meet their financial goals; despite this, only 24 percent are actively working to adjust their spending and saving habits.
As a result of failing to adjust spending and saving habits to new realities, two-thirds are in financial trouble and only 6 percent are on track to save enough for retirement. However, those who created a plan which includes four or more unique behavior-change tactics were 53 percent more successful in reaching their financial goals.
Here are some tips for using your tax refund to jump-start financial savings habits:
1. Change your paradigm from prize money to possibility: Change the way you think about your tax refund. Realize it isn’t a prize, but rather money you’ve earned in the last year through hard work. Consider the possibility of adding to your savings or investing for future security.
2. Overcome ignorance: If you struggle to save, you could be lacking skills rather than motivation. If you’re unsure on what to do with your refund, read a book or see an advisor who has knowledge you lack and can help you make a safe investment.
3. Turn accomplices into friends: Don’t underestimate the power of your peers. Stay away from friends who encourage you to spend your refund and hold your spouse or partner accountable to deposit your refund based upon your mutual goals.
4. Get a coach or mentor: Coaches—such as a financial advisor or friendly cheerleader—are crucial to behavior change success. Research shows people with a half dozen active friends who play the role of coach or mentor in encouraging saving are almost 40 percent more likely to succeed than those with less than a half dozen friends.
5. Reap a reward: Deposit 90 percent of your tax refund in your savings account and reward yourself by spending the remaining 10 percent on a low-budget treat or family outing.
6. Take advantage of technology: Cut out the temptation to cash a tax refund by opting for a direct deposit option that goes directly to your savings account.
For more tips on closing the financial gap and changing your spending or saving behavior, join Joseph and Loral in a paid web seminar on Tuesday, May 15.